Pitt duo combines for 53 points to hold off Blue Devils, 79-73

Chase for the Championship

Pittsburgh’s Justin Champagnie (11) dunks after getting by Syracuse’s Alan Griffin, left, and Marek Dolezaj, center, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH (WNCN) – Justin Champagnie and Au’diese each had a double-double as Pittsburgh held off Duke in a 79-73 win Tuesday night.

The Panthers, led by Champagnie and Toney’s combined 53 points, had built a 15-point lead early in the second half and were able to stave off a Duke comeback bid.

The Panthers went into halftime with a 43-34 lead. Coming out of the break, Abdoul Karim Coulibaly hit a layup through contact and finished the 3-point play at the free-throw line. Ithiel Horton’s layup followed by a triple from Au’diese Toney pushed Pitt’s lead to 51-36 just 1:33 into the second half.

A spurt of seven straight points from Jalen Johnson cut the deficit to 55-47, putting the Blue Devils back in the game.

Johnson’s dunk followed by a Matthew Hurt 3-pointer brought Duke within a shot, 68-66 with 5:40 to go, but the Blue Devils wouldn’t come any closer.

Champagnie had a game-high 31 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Toney finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Xavier Johnson had a game-best 11 assists.

The Blue Devils were led by Johnson’s 24 points and 15 rebounds. Wendell Moore Jr. chipped in with 15 points.

The loss marked the second in five Atlantic Coast Conference games this season and fourth in nine games overall. Meanwhile, Pitt improved to 8-2 (4-1 ACC).

Pitt and Duke will both return to action on Saturday. The Panthers travel to Boston College. The Blue Devils, losers of two in a row, will travel to Louisville.

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