Just desserts: Pitt teams continue to compete over break


By Chris Puzia / Sports Editor

While most students return to their respective homes for Thanksgiving break, the athletes on varsity sports still continue their business as usual. The break for Pitt sports will be highlighted by the football team’s game at Miami on Saturday, in which the team plays a big game with postseason ramifications.

Here’s a rundown for which Pitt sports are active over the break.


Paul Chryst and the Pitt football team travel to South Beach for their season finale against the Miami Hurricanes (6-5, 3-4 ACC) on Saturday at 7 p.m. Although the game is important for both teams, it will have major implications for the Panthers, who need to win in order to gain bowl eligibility. The Panthers finished the regular season 6-6 in each of Chryst’s first two years as head coach, and heading into the final week of this season, the same fate is the best case scenario for the Panthers (5-6, 3-4 ACC).

Pitt won its last game against Syracuse to snap a three-game losing streak, but the team lost standout running back James Conner to a hip injury during the game. It’s unclear whether Conner will be able to play on Saturday, and on Monday, Chryst said “we’ll see” regarding Conner’s status for the game. Freshman Chris James filled the void against Syracuse, by running for 122 yards on 19 carries and earning his first career 100-yard game in the process.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Men’s basketball

Pitt will play its second game of the Electronic Arts Sports Maui Invitational in Hawaii on Tuesday after it beat Division II Chaminade in the first round on Monday. The second game will be against either BYU or San Diego State. The No. 16 San Diego State Aztecs entered the game as the favorites, having already knocked off then-No. 25 Utah this season.

But the favorite to win the tournament comes in Pitt’s potential next game if it beats its second-round opponent. Arizona enters the tournament ranked No. 2 in the country, as head coach Sean Miller’s squad returns plenty of talent from last year. The tournament championship game is on Wednesday in the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui. Pitt lost its game against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 74-70 on Friday as a tune-up before the tournament.

Both second-round games will be on ESPN and ESPN2.

Women’s basketball

Head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio and the Panthers play two games over the break, the first is on Wednesday at 2 p.m. against Radford. The Highlanders (1-2) have lost this season to Virginia and Youngstown State. However, Pitt dropped to 2-2 on the season after losing its last game against No. 23 James Madison, 80-64. Senior point guard Brianna Kiesel scored 25 points in the losing effort.

The Panthers also play Sunday against Loyola (Md.) at 2 p.m. The Greyhounds lost their first three games of the season, and Pitt will try to create a small winning streak coming out of the holiday break.

Other upcoming schedules

None of Pitt’s other active sports compete over Thanksgiving break, but the teams will still prepare for upcoming competitions. The wrestling team has its next dual match Dec. 5 against Maryland. Three of Pitt’s first five matches came against opponents ranked in the top 25, but the Panthers face a Terrapins squad that finished 9-8 last season next.

The next swimming and diving tournament comes in the AT&T Winter National Championships, running from Dec. 4 to Dec. 6 in Greensboro, N.C. Both the men’s and women’s teams performed well at the Pitt Invitational, finishing first.

For the men’s and women’s track and field teams, the next meet comes in the Golden Flash Gala in Kent, Ohio, on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6. The team competed in the Pitt Blue-Gold meet on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23.