NCAAB: Pittsburgh aims to stop slide, hosts Alabama State
Perhaps a visit from winless Alabama State is what Pittsburgh needs to temporarily halt its early slide.
The Panthers will look to avoid a fourth straight defeat when they host the Hornets on Sunday.
Pittsburgh (1-3) opened the season with an 80-58 home win versus UT Martin before struggling in the face of stiffer competition. The Panthers fell to rival West Virginia by 25 points, then lost to No. 20 Michigan and VCU at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Although Pitt played the Rams tight during Thursday’s 71-67 loss in the consolation contest, it is averaging just 65.8 points, while shooting 40.4 percent overall — and 25.5 from 3-point range. The Panthers are also turning the ball over an average of 16.3 times and allowing opponents to shoot 46.1 percent.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to be smarter,” guard Jamarius Burton told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Each player is valuable, especially the guys who play heavy minutes.
“We just have to take (the Legends Classic) as a learning lesson and continue to move forward.”
Blake Hinson is averaging team-best totals in points (15.8) and rebounds (6.3), while Burton is contributing 13.5 and 6.0, respectively.
Pitt hopes to have 6-foot-9 returning starter John Hugley available after he appeared in just one of the first four games while recovering from a preseason knee injury.
The Panthers last started 1-4 in 2017-18 but would appear in good shape to avoid that from happening again Sunday.
Out of the SWAC, Alabama State (0-4) will play a fifth consecutive road game after losing to UAB, Southern California, Pepperdine and San Jose State by an average margin of 30.25 points. The Hornets, who did hang tough during Tuesday’s 70-57 loss in San Jose, are shooting just 33.1 percent while averaging 61.75 points.
“We got a lot of stuff we’ve got to work on,” Alabama State coach Tony Madlock told 1819 News.
“It’s early. … We got to figure this thing out.”
TJ Madlock, the coach’s son, averages a team-leading 14.8 points.
The Hornets are facing their first ACC team since posting an 85-82 win at Virginia Tech on Nov. 14, 2015.
–Field Level Media