The Pitt News

Pitt men’s basketball head coach Jeff Capel has a heated exchange with the referees during the Panthers’ game against NC State on Feb. 17.

Column | After three years under Jeff Capel, Pitt left with more questions than answers

By Zack Gibney, Staff Writer March 17, 2021
At what point does Capel’s infallibility wear off? After a tumultuous 2020-21 season, the answer is now.
The Pitt men’s basketball team wore masks in a team huddle during its game against Saint Francis University on Nov. 25. Head coach Jeff Capel was gut-wrenchingly honest over the course of the past few months about how difficult this season was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Column | Was this worth it: Reflections from a season covering COVID basketball

By Stephen Thompson, Assistant Sports Editor March 16, 2021
College basketball isn’t a great sport because there is something inherently “good” about a group of 18-to-22-year-olds putting a ball in a metal ring. College basketball is thrilling because of its pageantry and is deeply personal — especially for a student journalist — because you can write about a player dominating national television one night and go to class with them the next morning.
Nike Sibande (22) recorded season-highs in points (12), rebounds (7), shot attempts (13) and minutes (36) against the Florida State Seminoles last weekend.

Pitt falls 79-73 to Miami in ACC Tournament’s opening round

By Stephen Thompson, Assistant Sports Editor March 9, 2021
Pitt men’s basketball entered the ACC Tournament desperate to pull themselves out of a downward spiral that goes back months.  It began when the Panthers (10-12 overall, 6-10 ACC) dropped a one-point contest to Wake Forest on Jan. 23, snowballed into a streak during which they lost nine of 11, reached its climax when junior stars Xavier Johnson and Au’Diese Toney transferred and ends with a 79-73 loss to under-manned Miami (9-16 overall, 4-15 ACC) on the first day of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina. 
Pitt star forward Justin Champagnie announced on Tuesday that he will

Confounding basketball season to conclude with ACC Tournament

By Zack Gibney, Staff Writer March 9, 2021
After a long and bumpy ride, the ACC men’s basketball regular season has finally come to an end, and there will be no shortage of storylines as the ACC Tournament approaches. The matchups were finalized after the completion of the regular season on Saturday night.
Pitt men’s basketball (10-11 overall, 6-10 ACC) fell short in a 77-62 loss at Clemson (16-6 overall, 10-6 ACC) on Saturday afternoon.

Pitt comeback falls short in 77-62 loss at Clemson

By Stephen Thompson, Assistant Sports Editor March 8, 2021
Pitt men’s basketball (10-11 overall, 6-10 ACC) was unable to overcome sluggishness on both ends of the court early. The Panthers’ comeback effort fell short in a 77-62 loss at Clemson (16-6 overall, 10-6 ACC) on Saturday afternoon.
Pitt men’s basketball (9-10 overall, 5-9 ACC) has now lost eight of it’s last nine games after falling 62-65 at NC State (12-9 overall, 8-8 ACC) on Sunday afternoon. The team also lost two of its players, juniors Xavier Johnson and Au’Diese Toney, after they transferred.

Pitt begins life after Johnson, Toney with 65-62 loss to NC State

By Zack Gibney and Stephen Thompson March 1, 2021
Pitt (9-10 overall, 5-9 ACC) has now lost eight of its last nine games after falling 62-65 at NC State (12-9 overall, 8-8 ACC) on Sunday afternoon. In the wake of two key personnel losses, head coach Jeff Capel insisted that he felt this loss could be better attributed to the eight-day layoff between games and not the recent roster attrition.
Au’Diese Toney pictured against Virginia Tech on Feb. 4.

Pitt announces Toney to transfer, second key departure in two days

By Alex Lehmbeck, Sports Editor February 25, 2021
Junior Pitt forward Au’Diese Toney has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal and will not finish the 2020-21 season, the program announced Thursday.
Sophomore guard Xavier Johnson darts past a Clemson defender.

Johnson to transfer, will not finish season with men’s basketball

By Stephen Thompson, Assistant Sports Editor February 24, 2021
Pitt men’s basketball junior guard Xavier Johnson confirmed a report from Craig Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday morning that Johnson will immediately leave the Pitt program and enter the NCAA transfer portal. 
Nike Sibande (22) recorded season-highs in points (12), rebounds (7), shot attempts (13) and minutes (36) against the Florida State Seminoles last weekend.

Contentious offseason fades in memory as Sibande settles in at Pitt

By Stephen Thompson, Assistant Sports Editor February 24, 2021
After the COVID-19 pandemic and a contentious transfer process kept him out of action for 262 days, Nike Sibande spent his first nine games at Pitt shaking off the rust. But he showed flashes of dynamism in his breakout game on Saturday that indicate his game is growing along with the comfort of a still-new home in Pittsburgh.
Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics

Sibande’s season-best can’t save Pitt in 79-72 loss to No. 16 FSU

By Stephen Thompson, Assistant Sports Editor February 20, 2021
With a vocal, five-person contingent of the Oakland Zoo jeering and cheering from just to the left of the media suite for the first time this season, Pitt (9-9 overall, 5-8 ACC) battled No. 16 Florida State (13-3 overall, 9-2 ACC) for most of Saturday’s contest at the Petersen Events Center. But the Seminoles’ size and depth proved to be too much for Pitt to handle in the end. FSU dominated the paint offensively, en route to a 79-72 win over the Panthers.
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