In their second game as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Pitt men’s basketball team made a statement to the rest of the ACC with a convincing 79-59 victory over soon-to-be Big Ten member Maryland on Monday at the Petersen Events Center.
It was a historic night in front of another sellout crowd, as Jamie Dixon’s Panthers (14-1, 2-0 ACC) welcomed the Terrapins for their first home game in the ACC. The Oakland Zoo was raucous as always, waving gold rally towels and showing the nation they are one of the loudest student sections in the country. Pitt’s record at “the Pete” is now 190-22.
The Pitt Panthers were once again led by senior guard Lamar Patterson, who finished with a game-high 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal, and redshirt sophomore guard and Baltimore native Durand Johnson came off the bench and added a career-high 17 points.
In the first half, Pitt and Maryland (10-6, 2-1 ACC) battled back and forth with seven lead changes. Patterson led all first-half scorers with 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Johnson came off the bench, hitting two 3-pointers and chipping in with 10 points.
For Maryland, Smotrycz was 3 for 3 from behind the arc, leading the Terrapins with nine points at the half. Going into halftime, Pitt lead 36-30, as the Panthers only committed three personal fouls, and scored 13 points off eight Terrapins turnovers. However, Pitt was outrebounded 19-13 going into the break.
The Pitt Panthers pulled away in convincing fashion over the duration of the second half. The closest Maryland would get was at 40-37 when Allen hit two free throws. Pitt slowly wore down Maryland to pull ahead by 20 points.
Now medically cleared, 6-foot-10 Pitt sophomore center Joseph Uchebo from Nigeria, made his first appearance of the season late in the second half. Pitt shot an impressive 52.7 percent from the field (60 percent for 3-point range), whereas Maryland shot 35.7 percent overall.
Pitt will host Wake Forest, who recently knocked off North Carolina, on Saturday. Maryland will travel to Florida State on Sunday.