Jacksonville Sports Day

ACC: Pitt Notches Upset of No. 17 Florida State

PITT ATHLETICS

There’s no sugar-coating it: Pittsburgh’s 2016-17 season has been rough.

But the Panthers went a long way to smoothing things out Saturday at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh grabbed a first-half lead against No. 17 Florida State with 8:23 remaining and never looked back en route to an 80-66 upset of the Seminoles, who continue to struggle mightily on the road.

Pitt forward Sheldon Jeter, who came into the game averaging just 7.6 points per game, led the Panthers (15-12, 4-10 ACC) with 29 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the field as well as a team-high eight rebounds.
Guard Jamel Artis added 16 points for the Panthers, who also got 10 points from guard Cameron Johnson.

The victory made Pitt coach Kevin Stallings a happy man — after we was very unhappy following Tuesday’s loss against Virginia Tech.

“I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if we had gotten hammered today,” said Stallings, who team led by 11 points at halftime against Virginia Tech but lost 66-63. “That’s why my level of frustration was the way it was after that game (against Virginia Tech). We responded, we came back and we played with great urgency for all forty minutes.”

Florida State (21-6, 9-5), which is 2-5 on the road in the ACC this season, was led by junior guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who scored 12 points to go along with six assists. All six of the Seminoles’ losses this year have come on the road.

But the story for Florida State on Saturday was the struggles of star guard Dwayne Bacon.

For the first time in his Florida State career, Bacon was held scoreless, going 0 of 4 from the floor. It was also the first time in 35 games that Bacon did not score in double digits. He came into the game 11 points shy of 1,000 for his career — and that’s right where he stayed.

The win marked the Panthers’ third in the last four games, which was preceded by an eight-game losing streak.
Florida State, after starting the season with a 16-1 record, is just 5-5 in its last 10 games. And all five of their ACC losses have come by double digits.

The Seminoles just couldn’t stop Jeter on Saturday.

“We decided enough was enough,”Jeter said of the team’s recent struggles. “Let�s really fight for 40 minutes. And that’s what we did.”

Florida State is 1 1/2 games behind first-place North Carolina for the lead in the ACC. The Tar Heels played later Saturday night.

“I thought that Pittsburgh had a tremendous game plan of neutralizing our big guys by spreading the floor and a very good job of handling the ball, being very careful with their execution,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I felt very fortunate we were only down five at halftime.”

FSU NOTES: Pitt players wore retro jerseys for the game. … ESPN college basketball announcer Dick Vitale made a case recently for Florida State G Dwayne Bacon to win ACC Player of the Year, saying, “Florida State’s Dwayne Bacon is certainly a contender for Player of the Year honors in the ACC. There are times on the floor when he is as good as anyone in the nation.” … Florida State entered Saturday’s game ranked No. 11 in the latest NCAA Men’s Basketball RPI Ranking. The Seminoles are 2-1 against their two top-10 opponents with a victory over No. 4 Louisville and a win over No. 8 Florida; 4-1 against their top 20 opponents with victories over No. 14 Virginia and No. 15 Duke; 5-2 against their top-25 with a victory over No. 25 Notre Dame

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