Panthers Shoot Lights Out From Deep, Hinson Taunts Crazies After Buzzer
The Pittsburgh Panthers pulled off a monumental upset on Saturday, taking down the No. 7 ranked Duke Blue Devils 80-76 at the iconic Cameron Indoor Stadium. It marked Pitt’s first road victory over Duke since 1979, snapping a 45-game losing streak in Durham.
Blake Hinson led the way for Pitt, scoring 23 points on an ultra-efficient 9-of-11 shooting from the field including 5-of-6 from three-point range. His deep shooting barrage and clutch play in the game’s deciding moments allowed the Panthers to hold off a late Duke rally.
After the final buzzer, an elated Hinson walked over to the Duke student section known as the “Cameron Crazies” and egged them on by pretending to read a book and study. His taunt added further insult to Duke’s first home loss of the season.
Table 1. Notable Player Stats from Pitt’s 80-76 Win Over Duke (Source)
Pitt moves to 12-6 and 5-2 in ACC play with the monumental victory, while Duke suffers just its third loss of the year, falling to 14-3 and 3-2 in conference. This game marked Pitt’s first matchup with an AP top 10 opponent this season.
Red Hot Shooting From Distance the Difference
The major difference in this game came down to three-point shooting. Pitt finished with an outstanding 52.6% mark from beyond the arc, drilling 10 of their 19 attempts. Duke in contrast shot just 26.1% on 6-of-23 shooting.
“Our guys did a good job moving the ball and knocking down open shots,” Pitt coach Jeff Capel said. “We told our guys they would have to play with poise in this environment to pull out a win.”
Pitt’s early hot shooting allowed them to build a lead as large as 19 midway through the first half. Though Duke clawed back to cut it to 41-29 by the break, the Blue Devils could never fully overcome the early barrage.
Hinson’s Big Day Silences Crazies
If Pitt’s lights-out three shooting wasn’t demoralizing enough, Blake Hinson’s late game heroics surely left Duke fans stunned.
The fifth-year senior scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half, including a personal 8-0 run after Duke had cut the Pitt lead to just two with under four minutes left. Consecutive threes followed by a tough turnaround jumper gave Pitt the cushion it needed to close out the Blue Devils.
“We wanted to attack before the defense was set,” Hinson said regarding his late barrage. “Once I hit those first couple shots I just caught fire.”
Hinson finished 9-of-11 overall and 5-of-6 from three in addition to his late game scoring explosion. His five made threes were the most by an opposing player at Cameron Indoor this season.
“He played terrific today,” Capel said of Hinson’s performance. “His shooting was unmatched and he gave us that late boost when we needed it most.”
Duke coach Jon Scheyer called Hinson “the key difference maker” in the game, while star Blue Devil freshman Kyle Filipowski simply said he “couldn’t miss”.
What’s Next After Signature Win
Pitt now looks ahead to a Tuesday night matchup with Georgia Tech as it continues a critical three-game road stretch in ACC play over an eight day period.
A win over the struggling Yellow Jackets (8-9, 1-6 ACC) would push Pitt over .500 in conference play for the first time this season as it tries to build off the momentum from Saturday’s marquee victory.
“This can be a turning point for our season,” Burton said. “We need to stay focused and take it one game at a time.”
For Duke, it searches for answers following a lackluster offensive showing in which no player scored more than 16 points. The Blue Devils will play host to Miami on Monday as they look to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time all year.
“We’ll bounce back,” Scheyer said after the loss. “All our goals are still in front of us.”
Though just a regular season win in late January, Saturday’s upset at Cameron Indoor may come to signify a turning point for Capel’s program. For the first time in over four decades, Pitt left Durham with more than just moral victories and what-ifs.
This time, they’ll return home with a signature win in hand.
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