Pitt hosted Alabama State at the Petersen Events Center and had no problem getting rid of the Hornets.
It took about 15 minutes of game time before the Panthers actually looked like an ACC team hosting a winless SWAC team.
The final score was 73-54 in favor of Pitt, but it’s no exaggeration to say that Alabama State was the better team for the better part of the first half, ending Pitt’s early 10-2 lead and tying the game 13-all before taking the lead and pushing it to 12. .
That’s right: Pitt trailed Alabama 30-18 with less than six minutes left in the first half, and there was no guarantee the Panthers could make up that gap the way they played so early.
Alabama State’s district defense forced Pete to rely a lot on outside shooting, which is unreliable, at best. The Panthers went 3-of-15 from three in the first half, with those kicks making up nearly half of the 33 field goal attempts before halftime.
Meanwhile, Alabama was hitting it all. The Hornets shot 11 of 23 from the floor and 4 of 6 from three to build their lead to 12 points. But Pitt’s zone defense eventually slowed the visitors down, and in the final five minutes of the first half, Alabama State took 2 of 5 shots, missed his three-point attempt, and committed four turnovers.
That gave Pitt the chance, and the Panthers took advantage. Blake Henson kicked things off when he pulled back from Alabama State defender to hit a layup, and benched John Huggley — who was benched — followed that up with a conversion and 1 to cut the lead to seven.
Huggley and Henson kept the pressure going, scoring five points each while Pitt closed the half on a 12-4 run that sent both teams to the locker room with the Panthers trailing 34-31.
By contrast, the second half was all Pete. The 12-4 series that ended the first half continued after the end of the first half, as the Alabama team hit only one basket in the first eight minutes of the second half, and when the U-8 media timeout came at the 6:59 mark, the Hornets had scored two goals Only two field goals since coming out of the locker room.
On the contrary, Pete could not miss. The Panthers made 15 of 29 shots in the second half. This included Shine 7 of 14 marks of three.
Hinson led the charge throughout the game, scoring 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He also grabbed five rebounds. Hooghly scored 10 points and nine rebounds, while Nike Sibande scored 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers.
Pitt played without senior goalkeeper Jamarius Burton, who was suffering from a sore knee. As a result, top defense Nellie Cummings played the first 38 minutes of the game and scored 10 points, six rebounds and five assists in just two turnovers. Freshman Jorge Diaz Graham added nine points off the bench and made both three-point attempts.
Pitt (2-3) broke a three-game losing streak with the win and will play another game before Thanksgiving when the Panthers host Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m.