Pitt, William & Mary clash with winning streaks on the line
Pittsburgh looks to answer a three-game losing skid by completing a perfect three-game homestand on Friday against William & Mary.
The Panthers (3-3) turned the tide with a 73-54 victory over Alabama State on Sunday and an 83-61 triumph over Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday.
Jamarius Burton made 8 of 13 shots from the floor to finish with 18 points against FDU in his return from a one-game absence due to knee inflammation. Burton is shooting 54.9 percent from the floor (28 of 51) while averaging 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
“We were connected and we took good shots,” Burton said. “We didn’t force anything. I remember Coach (Jeff Capel) saying throughout practice and preparation for this game to turn down good for great. I feel like we did that.”
Five players scored in double figures on Tuesday for a Panthers’ team that admittedly is a work in progress.
“For us, we’re still trying to figure out who we are, what combinations work best together,” Capel said. “We’ve been in this stretch where we really didn’t have an opportunity to practice that much. It’s just been walk-throughs and the games.”
Blake Hinson leads the Panthers in scoring at 15.8 points per game. He is shooting 50.0 percent from the floor (33 of 66) and 37.1 percent from 3-point range (13 of 35).
Like Pittsburgh, William & Mary (3-3) has answered a losing skid with back-to-back victories.
The Tribe responded to a pair of road defeats with a 76-67 win over Army on Saturday and a 62-51 triumph versus in-state rival Radford on Wednesday.
Rice transfer Chris Mullins scored a season-high 13 points against Radford, and Gabe Dorsey added 12 on four 3-pointers for William & Mary.
Tribe coach Dane Fischer was pleased with his team’s performance at the other end of the court, as well. William & Mary forced 16 turnovers and recorded 10 steals.
“We just talked about making a commitment to that (defensive) end of the floor, and our guys have really done that in the last two games,” Fischer told the Virginian-Pilot. “That’s a really good offensive team and we forced them into some uncharacteristic turnovers and did a good job guarding the 3-point line.”
–Field Level Media