Pitt beats Wake Forest 70-57
It has been a whirlwind week for the Pitt basketball program. The Panthers did their best to put to put all the drama behind them with a 70-57 win over Wake Forest on Tuesday evening. The win improves Pitt's record to 10-10 on the season with a 6-9 mark in ACC play. Pitt also snapped a five-game losing streak with the victory, while Wake Forest's losing streak has now reached six games.
Pitt was led offensively by senior guard Nike Sibande. The Miami (OH) transfer made his sixth start of the season and produced his best game to date in a Pitt uniform. He scored a season-high 23 points and also grabbed 9 rebounds dished out 4 assists. Sibande was 3-of-5 from behind the three-point line.
After picking up a pair of technicals in the last game, Pitt star sophomore Justin Champagnie came off the bench. The punishment was short-lived as he logged 31 minutes and posted yet another double double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. It is the 13th double-double he has recorded this season.
Pitt freshman forward William Jeffress earned the start on Tuesday in place of Champagnie and put together perhaps the best game of his young career. The Erie native scored a career-high 8 points and came up with some big hustle plays as well.
The Pitt defense did a much better job of locking down Wake Forest than it did in the first meeting. The Demon Deacons shot just 35.8% from the field, but did manage to made 9 3-pointers, which was actually down from the 15 they made in a 76-75 win over Pitt back on January 23rd.
Terrell Brown earned his first start of the season in recognition of Senior Night ceremonies that were performed before the game. He finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds. In all likelihood Tuesday will be the final game of Brown's career at the Petersen Events Center. Fellow senior Sibande did not participate in the ceremony, suggesting he may be back next season.
Pitt will return to action on Saturday when the team travels to take on Clemson for a noon tip against the Tigers. The ACC Tournament begins on Tuesday in Greensboro, and as of today the Panthers would be the 11 seed and will be competing with Notre Dame in the coming days for that spot.