CM – The exhausted Pitt basketball team cannot keep up with the Citadel in the beginning


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With only nine scholarship players available for the start of a new season, Pitt was able to failed to keep up with The Citadel and dropped a 78-63 decision at the Petersen Events Center.

After the loss of starting keepers Nike Sibande (knee injury) and Ithiel Horton (suspension) as well as senior transfer guard Jamarius Burton (knee injury), coach Jeff Capel started his fourth season at a serious disadvantage.

Sibande is lost for the season and Horton has been suspended for an indefinite period. The good news is that Burton could be back this month.

In the meantime, Pitt must find a way to get through a non-conference schedule that includes West Virginia, Morgantown, Vanderbilt, Minnesota and St. John’s on Friday night.

According to a poll of coaches and media representatives in the preseason, there were no such responses on Tuesday against The Citadel, which was ranked ninth in the Southern Conference with 10 teams.

Strikers John Hugley (27 points) and Femi Odukale (20) provided the majority of the goal for the Panthers. That’s the equivalent of two players making up 75% of Pitt’s score.

Noah Collier (three points) and Dan Oladapo (two) were the only non-starters who scored for Pitt. Nate Santos added five points, William Jeffress four and Mouhamadou Gueye two. Jeffress missed his first nine shots from the field.

With just 7 minutes, 21 seconds in the game, the Bulldogs had already tried 11 3-pointers and hit six to take a 27-9 lead. After averaging nearly 29 3-point tries per game last season, The Citadel seemed keen to set a new standard by trying 19 from beyond the arc and hitting seven in the first half. For the game, The Citadel scored 13 out of 36.

Pitt meanwhile struggled to find a rhythm offensively and missed 11 of his 14 shots inside and outside the 3-point arc.

After Odukale had scored the first two points of the season with a jump shot, the Bulldogs went on a 14-0 run.

Eventually Pitt made shot contact and reduced the lead to just nine before retiring 43-31 behind.

Odukale scored 11 points in almost 19 of the 20 minutes at halftime. The only Pitt points from the bank was a 2 point Collier basket.

Hugley showed some muscle around the basket and finished the half with nine points and six rebounds.

Jerry DiPaola is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.

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