An extremely inexperienced Pittsburgh team posted its second consecutive victory on Tuesday, which might be a cause for celebration considering the Panthers returned just three career starts from last season, but second-year coach Kevin Stallings knows his team needs to play better once ACC action begins. Stallings will look for improvement when Pitt plays the third of nine consecutive contests in Pittsburgh on Friday against cross-town rival Duquesne in the City Game at PPG Paints Arena.
Freshman Marcus Carr scored a career-high 19 points on 5-of-5 shooting as Pitt shot 55 percent overall in a 71-63 victory over High Point but turned the ball over 22 times and allowed 16 offensive rebounds to a team that rarely plays anybody over 6-7. “Well, I am happy that we played not nearly as well as I thought we would play and still lived to tell about it with a victory, but we need to take better care of the ball ... and we could have done a much better job on the boards,” Stallings said after the game. “We had a number of balls that went off our hands to them or off our hands and out of bounds. There are several things that are going very well. What happens, though, is you lose all your momentum when you turn the ball over to them and they can go down and make a layup.” Duquesne, which snapped a 15-game series losing streak against the Panthers with a 64-55 win last season, will be looking to win two in a row in the series for the first time since 1980. The Dukes, who return two starters from last year’s 10-22 team, are coming off a 78-71 loss against Cornell on Monday despite a career-high 26 points from senior guard Rene Castro-Caneddy.
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ABOUT DUQUESNE (2-2): Sophomore guard Mike Lewis II had 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting beyond the arc to along with five rebounds and four steals against Cornell; he averages 12 points per game but is shooting 27.6 percent from 3-point range (8-of-29) after connecting on 36 percent last season. Eric Williams Jr. (13.5 points, 9.8 rebounds), who became the first freshman in school history to post a double-double in a season opener (17 points, 12 boards) recorded his second double-double in four games with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds against the Big Red. Castro-Caneddy, who had never played more than 30 minutes in a game entering the season, is averaging 20 points on 50-percent shooting in 36.3 minutes after averaging 7.1 points in 19.1 minutes last season.
ABOUT PITTSBURGH (3-4): Senior forward Ryan Luther scored 15 points, led Pitt with eight rebounds and added a career-high five assists Tuesday; Luther (13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds) has cracked double figures in scoring in six of Pitt’s first seven games. Junior college transfer Jared Wilson-Frame, a 6-5 wing player, paces the team in scoring at 14 points per game and has made 18-of-44 shots beyond the arc but has 16 turnovers against seven assists. Carr (10 points per game) committed five turnovers against High Point and leads the team in both assists (27) and turnovers (20) in 181 minutes played this season.
1. The Panthers lead the series 52-32.
2. Duquesne is 7-26 against the ACC.
3. Stallings played a season-high 15 men against High Point, including all of his 12 eligible scholarship players.
PREDICTION: Pittsburgh 76, Duquesne 68