Turnovers proved to be Georgia Tech’s undoing in a disappointing road loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon, 22 of them, in fact.
Panthers freshman Justin Champagnie scored a career-high 30 points, and the Panthers pulled away for a 73-64 victory Saturday.
Champagnie made 12 of 17 shots, including all three of his 3-point attempts as the Panthers (15-9, 6-7 ACC) bounced back from a tough road loss at Notre Dame by clamping down on the Yellow Jackets (11-13, 5-8) late.
“It kind of bit us in the butt today with the turnovers,” Tech coach Josh Pastner said. “Too many possessions we gave away. That's not going to win the game.”
Trey McGowens added 14 points and nine assists for Pitt. Terrell Brown finished with nine points and six rebounds in his first start since late November, and the Panthers used the juice provided by a technical foul on coach Jeff Capel to stay in the mix in the middle of the muddled ACC.
Michael Devoe led Tech with 22 points and seven assists, while Moses Wright chipped in 12 points. James Banks added seven points and 11 rebounds, but the Yellow Jackets couldn’t keep pace after Capel was hit with a technical foul for throwing a towel in disgust after Brown drew his fifth foul on a late whistle following a shot attempt by Banks.
Alvarado drilled the two technical-foul shots to get Tech within 57-54 with 4:50 to go, but Banks missed his two free throws. The Panthers responded with an 11-3 burst capped by a layup and a pair of free throws by Champagnie that put Pitt up 68-57 with 1:39 to play.
The Jackets never recovered while seeing their modest two-game win streak snapped. Tech shot a respectable 48% (24-of-50) from the floor, but the steady stream of turnovers led to 20 points the other way.
Champagnie, the linchpin of Capel’s recruiting class, showcased why Capel pursued him so relentlessly. The 6-foot-6 forward can score in a variety of ways. He’s comfortable behind the 3-point line, but also is adept at crashing the boards. And when Pitt went away from him while frittering away a nine-point second-half lead, he came out of a timeout and flashed to the high post repeatedly, eventually finding enough room to knock down a jumper from the left elbow.
Next up for the Jackets: No. 5 Louisville at McCamish Pavilion on Wednesday. The Jackets lost to the Cardinals 68-64 on the road last month.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.