Pitt brings 4-game skid into tilt vs. high-scoring Colgate

NCAA Basketball

Pittsburgh is off to a difficult start and next up is an opponent that boasts a win over an Atlantic Coast Conference team already this season.

Coming off consecutive last-second losses, the Panthers hope to avoid a fifth straight loss Thursday night when they host Colgate.

Pittsburgh (2-6) has been held under 70 points in seven of eight games, and the one time it exceeded that mark was an 87-77 home loss to UMBC on Nov. 27. That was the second loss in the Panthers’ current skid, and they followed it up with a 54-53 loss to Minnesota on Nov. 30 and a 57-56 loss at Virginia on Friday.

Against Minnesota, Pitt lost on a put-back with 2.4 seconds remaining. At Virginia, the Panthers held a four-point lead with 25 seconds left but gave up a jumper to Jayden Gardner with nine-tenths of a second remaining.

According to Pitt’s website, it is the first time the Panthers have suffered consecutive one-point losses since the 1932-33 season.

“Winning’s hard,” Pitt coach Jeff Capel said. “It requires a lot. We’re close. We’ve just got to keep fighting. We have to keep chipping away. We have to keep learning.”

John Hugley scored a team-high 12 points and the Panthers shot 39.1 percent at Virginia, marking the fourth time this season they shot under 40 percent.

Colgate (4-5) leads the Patriot League in scoring at 78.3 points per game. In their win at Syracuse, the Raiders shot 54.5 percent in the second half and 45.7 overall in a 100-85 victory on Nov. 20.

Since beating Syracuse, Colgate is 1-3. The Raiders snapped a three-game losing streak by rolling to an 89-61 home win over Columbia on Monday when it shot 51.7 percent and matched a season high by hitting 18 3-pointers.

Leading scorer Nelly Cummings scored 26 points on 8-of-9 shooting a week after shooting 1 of 11 in a loss to Niagara.

“The rest of the nonleague schedule starts with two really challenging games coming up in Pittsburgh and St. John’s,” Colgate coach Matt Langel said. “We have our hands full but that’s how we built the schedule.”

–Field Level Media

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