The Clemson Tigers men’s basketball team traveled north to Pittsburgh, Pa., this past week to square off against one of the newest members off ACC, the No. 20 Pittsburgh Panthers. The matchup was only the second ever meeting between to the two schools ,with Pittsburgh winning the previous meeting. Once again it was Panthers who came out on top over the Tigers by a score of 76-43.
Clemson knew it would be a tough test to win at Pittsburgh. The Panthers were coming off of a loss to longtime rival Syracuse and would be looking to regain their form against the Tigers. Pittsburgh was scorching hot from the field. The Panthers shot 56 percent from the field and were eight of 15 from behind the arc. Pittsburgh was also stout on the defensive end, holding Clemson to 32 percent from the field including only four of 19 from deep.
“Our guys played like a young team that got a little nervous,” Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell said after the game. Pitt was able to jump out to an early double-digit lead and never looked back. The poor shooting performance by the Tigers caused them to muster only 20 first half points and face a 17-point deficit going into the break. “All of a sudden you get slapped in the face a little bit, and it’s real. There’s nowhere to hide,” explained Brownell.
Senior forward Talib Zanna led Pitt’s attack, netting 22 points in 21 minutes on the floor, while shooting 90 percent from the field. Guards Lamar Patterson and Cameron Wright each scored in double figures while guard Josh Newkirk contributed 10 points off
K.J. McDaniels led the Tigers with 11 points, but early foul trouble kept him on the bench for long stretches. No other Clemson players scored in double figures. Jordan Roper, Rod Hall and Sidy Djitte each scored six points a piece.
Pitt was able to grab 10 more defensive rebounds than the Tigers and committed four less turnovers. The Panthers were also able to do a fantastic job of sharing the basketball on offense. Pitt had assists on 24 of their 27 made field goals.
“They make plays out of nowhere every once in a while,” Brownell said. “The defense isn’t as bad
as it looks; they’re just so good
passing the ball. It’s demoralizing to play defense for 30 seconds and give up a layup.”
“We came out to prove something,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said of his team’s effort against Clemson.
The loss dropped the Tigers to 13-5 overall and 4-2 in conference play. The game was the first in a torturous stretch for Clemson that will see them play many of the conferences heavyweights on the road. The next game for Clemson will be Sunday night when the Tigers travel to Chapel Hill to battle