In continuing its early-season home stand against Florida Gulf Coast Monday night, Pittsburgh will look for a quicker start than it had its last time out.
The Panthers (2-0) allowed Binghamton to stick around longer than they would’ve liked in Friday night’s 89-60 win, taking a while to find their groove offensively.
The Bearcats were within a basket of Pitt with just under eight minutes to play in the first half, then the Panthers embarked on a 9-0 run over a 1:43 span.
Prior to that surge, Pitt shot 7-of-24 (29.1%) from the field, including missing its initial six 3-point tries.
The Panthers wound up getting it together, leading by as many as 32 points in the final 20 minutes. The defense limited the visitors to a 28.1% field-goal percentage over the same stretch.
“The guys put in the work and if it’s not going in a couple of times, you’re just gonna keep shooting it,” said guard Ishmael Leggett, who finished with 18 points. “It’s just constant repetition with us. We just believe in ourselves.”
The Eagles (1-1), meanwhile, rebounded from a road loss to Indiana by downing Ave Maria, 80-71, in their home opener Friday night. The contest was knotted at 71 before Keeshawn Kellman scored five in a row – he was fouled on a dunk, converted the free throw, then sank both parts of a one-and-one.
“I’m really happy with how our guys continued to compete even when things weren’t going well,” Florida Gulf Coast coach Pat Chambers said. “Our big guys ended up really doing a lot to take over the longer the game went on.”
Franco Miller Jr. poured in 15 points and was one of four double-digit scorers for Florida Gulf Coast on the night.
Pitt won’t hit the road until Nov. 22, when it plays Florida in the NIT Season Tip-Off in Brooklyn.
–Field Level Media