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Pitt gets hot in second half to put away Alabama State

Sportsnaut
Nov 7, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Jeff Capel reacts on the sidelines against the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Hinson had 21 points and Nike Sibande added 17 as Pitt made seven 3-pointers in the second half to overcome a 12-point deficit and snap its three-game slide with Sunday’s 73-54 victory over visiting Alabama State on Sunday.

Pitt (2-3) entered shooting just 25.5 percent from beyond the arc and went 3 of 15 during a first half in which it trailed by as many as 12. However, the Panthers found their touch, while the Hornets (0-5) went just 9 of 37 from the field and scored 20 points in the second.

Hinson scored 13 points in the first half, but left with 6:21 to play due to an apparent injury. Sibande had 11 second-half points for the Panthers, who rebounded after being swept at the Legends Classic by Michigan and VCU. John Hugley IV chipped in 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

The Panthers cut into a 30-18 hole and trailed 34-31 at halftime. Then, after missing seven of its first eight shots out of the break, Pitt turned a 36-33 deficit into a 48-36 lead via a 15-0 run — part of an overall 26-2 stretch — to take control.

Jorge Diaz-Graham scored five straight points during the Panthers’ surge, while Nelly Cummings and Greg Elliott each hit a 3 before Alabama State ended its scoring drought on TJ Madlock’s basket with 11:51 remaining in regulation.

The Panthers finished 7 of 14 from 3 in the second half but shot 41.9 percent overall from the field.

Pitt made four of its first six shots and led 10-2 going into the first media timeout. However, the Panthers made just seven field goals the rest of the first half.

Meanwhile, Alabama State overcame a 1-of-8 shooting start and hit four straight 3s at one point amid a 28-8 run that gave them that 12-point advantage with under six minutes left in the first half. However, the Panthers regrouped to score 13 of the final 17 points of the half, including six from Hinson.

Madlock had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Alabama State. Isaiah Range added 10 points.

–Field Level Media