GREENSBORO, N.C. — Pitt’s bid to make the Sweet 16 fell brief with a 84-73 loss to Xavier within the second spherical of the NCAA Tournament on the Greensboro Coliseum.. The Panthers concluded the season with a 24-12 document after making the NCAA Tournament for the primary time since 2016.
Pitt trailed a lot of the second half by double digits, however the Panthers placed on one final spirited push within the remaining sport of the season. The Panthers received to inside 8 factors on a Greg Elliott three-pointer to make it 76-68 with 1:45 left within the sport. The Musketeers had some struggled on the free throw line, which saved the Panthers inside hanging distance.
Xavier shot 16-of-26 from the road for the sport, which prolonged Pitt’s hopes.
Blake Hinson’s three-pointer with 34.4 left to make it 82-73, however Xavier did buckle down on the finish on the road and Pitt missed its remaining two shot makes an attempt and the comeback bid finally got here too late within the sport.
Pitt held a 15-14 benefit on the 13:15 mark of the primary half on a Nike Sibande layup, however from there may be was just about all Xavier till Pitt’s late rally. The Big East squad used a 7-0 run to stretch a 30-24 benefit to 37-24 and the momentum clearly swung of their favor.
The Musketeers torched the Panthers within the first half with a 52% exhibiting from the ground. Xavier guard Adam Kunkel lit the Panthers up with 15 factors, all through three-pointers. Kunkel was held scoreless within the second half, however was additionally one among 5 Xavier gamers to achieve double figures because the balanced assault gave Pitt some bother.
The Musketeers have been led by 7’0” senior Jack Nunge, who completed with 18 factors, with 14 coming within the first half. The Xavier huge man was 8-of-12 from the ground, and the Panthers by no means actually had reply for him inside. Nunge finally fouled out with 3:19 remaining within the sport and solely scored 4 factors after halftime
Xavier star participant Souley Boum was held scoreless within the first half and solely completed 3-for-13 from the sector. His 14 factors within the second half actually picked up the slack for the Musketeers and saved Pitt on the ropes.
Xavier’s preliminary burst within the first half was fueled by nice motion. Sean Miller’s group completed with 22 assists on 30 made area targets, together with 17 assists within the first half. The Musketeers shot 47% from the ground for the sport.
For in addition to Xavier performed on offense on Sunday, the Panthers merely struggled to make photographs. Pitt senior guards Jamarius Burton and Nelly Cummings have been a mixed a 10-of-32 on this one.
Burton completed with 16 factors, however needed to work extraordinarily onerous to get there. Cummings completed with 9 factors on 3-of-14 capturing. The Panthers have been led by Blake Hinson, who completed with 18 factors. Hinson was 3-of-8 from three-point vary, together with a moon shot within the second half to ignite the Pitt crowd with 4:33 left to make it 74-60.
Aside from Hinson, Pitt didn’t make its exterior photographs in opposition to Xavier, and struggled at instances to even discover open seems to be. The Panthers have been 6-of-20 for the sport from three-point vary. Xavier did an efficient job of holding Pitt from making a run within the second half, by limiting their exterior seems to be.
Pitt tried to go together with a smaller lineup at instances within the second half. Jeff Capel opted to make use of Hinson as the middle with a four-guard lineup, however the Panthers weren’t letting photographs fly from deep. Despite trailing by double digits to open the second half, Pitt solely tried 4 three-pointers within the first ten minutes after halftime.
Federiko Federiko, Pitt’s beginning heart, returned to motion on Friday in opposition to Iowa State after lacking Tuesday’s First Four sport, however was largely a non-factor. He was even much less efficient in opposition to Xavier, as he solely performed one minute and spent a lot of the sport off to the facet of the bench on an train bike. Capel stated there was a noticeable limp and didn’t need to injure him additional.
In Federiko’s place, Guillermo Diaz Graham made his third consecutive begin. The freshman heart completed with 11 factors, eight rebounds, and three blocks to punctuate a powerful conclusion to his season.
Despite being restricted inside, Pitt battled on the glass. Xavier gained the rebounding division narrowly 44-41. The Panthers shot exceptionally properly from the free throw line on Friday (25-of-29), however completed solely 13-of-20 in opposition to Xavier, as maybe some fatigue performed a job after taking part in a 3rd match sport in six days.
Pitt gained two NCAA Tournament video games this 12 months for the primary time since 2009. The Panthers have been picked to complete 14th within the ACC. Jeff Capel, after 4 straight shedding seasons to open his Pitt tenure, was doubtless teaching for his job. He received Pitt again into the NCAA Tournament for the primary time since 2016 and gained ACC Coach of the Year alongside the best way.
The Panthers lose 4 seniors: Jamarius Burton, Nelly Cummings, Greg Elliott, and Nike Sibande. Pitt will deliver again two starters, main scorer Blake Hinson, together with Federiko Federiko inside. The Diaz Graham twins are set to return after making critical strides down the stretch and the Panthers have three recruits already signed within the class of 2023, highlighted by a pair of four-star recruits.