Johnson ends slump, Pitt tops No. 16 Virginia Tech 83-72

Keve Aluma shoots a 3-pointer in the Hokies loss at Pitt (ACC)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Xavier Johnson scored a career-high 32 points and Pittsburgh beat No. 16 Virginia Tech 83-72 to end a three-game skid. Johnson had been slumping and was held out of Pitt’s starting lineup for the first time this season and second time in his three-year career. He shot 11 of 17 from the floor, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range, as the Panthers had their way against a usually stingy Virginia Tech defense. Pittsburgh beat a ranked opponent for the first time since January 2019.

Keve Aluma scored 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting for the Hokies, who were coming off a win over then-No. 8 Virginia. The game was tied at 31 at halftime before the Panthers outplayed the Hokies in the second half.

“They played better than we did needless to say. They were more physical, they threw the ball into the post, we had absolutely no answer for Johnson,” said Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young.

“We did a great job on Champagnie, he has been playing as well as anyone in this league. As good as we have been defensively, to allow 83 points to a Pittsburgh team that has struggled to score at times over the course of the year, they shot 50%. We have been so good defensively but we were not that team tonight and that is disappointing. I credit Coach Capel and the Panthers, they outplayed us tonight.”

“They just threw out our process of scouting as a team. They made sure to let us know that pittsburg identity is to be an extremely physical team,” said Hokies forward Justyn Mutts.

“That’s how they are able to get a lot of wins. That’s how they were able to get it done earlier in the season. Over the past couple of games they hadn’t been playing so great, so they probably came out with a chip on their shoulder with the intent to come out here and get a win and I know us having that ranking probably meant a lot to them to just come out and get it done.”

Virginia Tech will head to Miami for a Noon tipoff with the Hurricanes on Saturday.