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January 12, 2014

Pitt loses key reserve for the season

Pitt will be without its top reserve for the rest of the season, as redshirt sophomore Durand Johnson will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 schedule after tearing the ACL and the meniscus in his right knee, the Athletic Department announced Sunday.

Johnson suffered the injury in the second half of Pitt's 80-65 win over Wake Forest at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday. He scored 11 points while playing 18 minutes in that game, with eight of his points coming from the free throw line.

"We are thoroughly heartbroken for Durand," Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. "With his passion for the game and outstanding work ethic, Durand has contributed significantly to our success. He has made so much improvement in all facets of his game this year. I expect that same passion and work ethic to help Durand return at 100 percent next season."

As an offensive spark off the bench, the redshirt sophomore from Baltimore was Pitt's fourth-leading scorer in the first 16 games of the season, averaging 8.8 points per game while shooting 33.8% on 65 attempts from three-point range (four attempts per game). He seemed to step up in the Panthers' first three ACC games, averaging 9.3 points - third on the team - despite being held scoreless in eight minutes at N.C. State.

Johnson scored 17 points against Maryland last Monday, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three-point range, and he scored in double figures eight times this season. Only redshirt seniors Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna and redshirt junior Cameron Wright have more double-figure scoring efforts this season.

Pitt's top bench player after Johnson was freshman forward Jamel Artis, who is averaging 4.7 points in 14.9 minutes this season. The primary reserve wing to fill Johnson's minutes will likely be redshirt freshman Chris Jones, who has played 14 of Pitt's 16 games this season and averaged 2.6 points in 5.9 minutes per game.

In addition to using Jones more, Dixon can also look at having starting point guard James Robinson share the backcourt with freshman backup Josh Newkirk more.

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