Pitt routs Northwestern 87-58
Pitt entered Monday night's ACC-Big Ten Challenge game against Northwestern as the underdog, but the Panthers rolled to an easy 87-58 over the Wildcats in Evanston behind a memorable offensive performance. Pitt carved up a solid defensive team from Northwestern with a red-hot shooting night, as the Panthers shot 48% for the game, and a season-high 64% from three-point range.
Pitt had 14 made three-pointers for the game, including eight after halftime.
The Panthers had five players reach double-figures in scoring, with Blake Hinson setting the pace with 22 points. Greg Elliott poured in 18, Nelly Cummings chipped in with 17, while Jamarius Burton provided 14, and Nike Sibande added 11 off the bench.
Perhaps the most notable scoring figure in the game was the 0 points from star center John Hugley. Despite limiting the Panthers' center to a scoreless output, Northwestern had little answer for Pitt's excellent ball movement and outside shooting. Pitt recorded 22 assists on 26 made field goals for the game.
Jeff Capel employed a 'five-out' offensive look to counter the double teams to Hugley, and that adjustment worked to perfection seemingly. The Panthers jumped all over Northwestern in the second half with a 14-2 run coming out of the break, and never really looked back from there.
Blake Hinson's free throw at the 14:43 mark put Pitt up 55-35, and the lead never dipped below 20 points the remainder of the game. The Panthers led by as many as 31 points in the second half.
Cummings, Pitt's point guard, had struggled in the early part of the season, but played his best game in a Pitt uniform on Monday. He shot an efficient 6-of-8 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc. He also dished out six assists.
Burton issued a team-high 7 assists and he has now scored in double figures in all seven of the games he has played in this season. Sibande has now scored in double figures in three of his last four games as well as he looks more comfortable after missing last season with a knee injury.
Pitt improved to 5-3 on the season with the win and the team is riding a current four-game winning streak. It is the team's longest winning streak since the early part of the 2020-21 season, where the team won five consecutive games.
The Panthers have now defeated Northwestern for the third time in the past four seasons. The Wildcats are coached by Jeff Capel's former Duke teammate Chris Collins, and the Panthers coach has now bested his good friend in all three head-to-head meetings.
ESPN announced earlier on Monday that this will be the final year of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Pitt participated in the event nine times and will finish with a 5-4 all-time record.
The Panthers are in the midst of a difficult stretch of games, and it continues on Friday night. Pitt will travel to Raleigh to take on NC State in a rare pre-January conference game.