After collapsing late against the nation's second-ranked team, Pittsburgh bounced back with a dominant performance.
Saturday night's trip to struggling Maryland could provide the 20th-ranked Panthers with another chance to make a statement before getting a second shot at an elite conference foe.Pittsburgh (17-2, 5-1 ACC) shot 38.3 percent and was outscored 10-2 in the final 4:41 of a 59-54 loss at No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday.The Panthers didn't seem to let the disappointment linger, rolling to a 76-43 home victory over Clemson on Tuesday. It was their most lopsided win of the season and the fourth-largest margin of victory in conference play in school history.Pittsburgh was 8 of 15 from beyond the arc against a Tigers squad that came in leading the nation in 3-point percentage defense. Coach Jamie Dixon's team is hitting 42.9 percent of its 3-pointers in ACC play after knocking down 33.0 percent in non-conference action, which included five games with two or fewer 3s.Leading scorer Lamar Patterson (17.4 ppg) was 3 of 4 from deep and is 12 of 24 over his last four games.Talib Zanna was a force inside against Clemson with 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting. He's averaging 16.7 points and shooting 66.7 percent in conference play, up from 11.8 and 58.9 over the first 12 contests.The Panthers had just 10 assists against the Orange before finishing with 24 assists on 27 field goals versus the Tigers."I think from the start of the game we just tried to play our style of game, play as hard as we can, execute as best we could," said James Robinson, who recorded eight assists. "We're a very unselfish team. When somebody gives up their shot to let somebody else make a play, it usually comes back around."Pittsburgh held Clemson to 16-of-50 shooting (32.0 percent) after allowing a season-worst 51.2 percent against Syracuse."We came out to prove something," Dixon said.Before hosting No. 18 Duke on Monday, the Panthers will try to knock off the Terrapins for the second time in 19 days. They shot 52.7 percent in a 79-59 home win on Jan. 6 with Patterson scoring 19. Maryland (11-8, 3-3) hit just 35.7 percent of its shots with leading scorers Dez Wells (14.3 ppg) and Jake Layman (12.2 ppg) going a combined 3 of 13 for eight points.Both have continued to struggle, totaling 15 points in Monday's 65-56 loss at North Carolina State, Maryland's third defeat in four games. Layman, who was 2 for 8, is averaging just 6.8 points on 33.3 percent shooting over his last six games. Wells was 2 for 11 in his worst shooting performance of the season.Maryland held an 11-point edge 29 seconds into the second half, but was outscored 45-25 the rest of the way by an N.C. State team that had dropped three in a row and was playing without ACC scoring leader T.J. Warren."We guarded for one half but not the second," coach Mark Turgeon said. "If we would have guarded the second half like we did the first it might have been a different outcome. But, we didn't do it."The Terrapins, who own a 5-3 advantage in the series, have lost 20 of 23 against ranked foes but have won their last two against Top 25 teams at home.
Pittsburgh allows 28.2 rebounds per game, fewest in the nation. The Panthers rebound 40% of their missed shots, the second-best offensive-rebounding percentage in the ACC.
Pittsburgh averages 17.2 assists per game, most in the ACC and tied for seventh most in the nation. The Panthers assist on 64% of their field goals, the highest percentage in the ACC and eighth-highest in the nation.