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Pitt's Blake Hinson Takes Blame for UNC Loss

Pitt Panthers star Blake Hinson shouldered responsibility for a tight loss to North Carolina.

WASHINGTON, DC -- Blake Hinson has been brilliant for the Pitt Panthers for this season, leading them to a second half surge that earned them a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

But the semifinal round of the 2024 ACC Tournament, where the Panthers lost,  72-65 to top-seeded North Carolina, did not feature one of Hinson's finest performances. In fact, it was one of the worst of his career. He scored just 5 points, shot 2-12 from the field and 0-5 from 3-point range. He was a concerted focus for North Carolina's defense and they completely shut him down. 

“Just like I said, I got to do my job. I got to do my job better, regardless of what the hell is going in as far as defensively," Hinson said. "They could have eight people on me. It’s my job to do my job. I do my job, we win this game.”

Hinson was hounded by Tar Heel forward Harrison Ingram, one of the best wing defenders in all of college basketball for the entire night he credited the Tar Heels for excellent team defense, but added that he needed to only play up to his standards for Pitt to win. 

“I know my team. My team can beat that team," Hinson said. "If I do my job, if I get the 20 points I average, we win that game.”

It was just the fifth time in 69 games as a Panther that he failed to make a 3-pointer and tied for the third-lowest scoring output of his time at Pitt. The Panthers had been 3-1 in games where Hinson did not make a 3-pointer entering the semifinals against North Carolina. But with Ishmael Leggett struggling to score as well, Pitt didn't have enough firepower. 

Freshman guard Bub Carrington wanted Hinson to take some of the pressure off of himself. He said the Panthers win as a team and lose as a team.

“I knew he was going to put this loss on himself but it’s not his fault at all," Carrington said. "We turned the ball over, we didn’t rebound, we didn’t do the little things to win. That’s what happens, you’re going to lose when you don’t do the little things.”

The Panthers are chasing an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament but will have to wait two days before learning their postseason fate. An NIT bid could await them if they don't make the big dance and Hinson said he'll spend the next two days preparing for whatever lies ahead. 

“Working, working," Hinson said about how he'll spend the next two days. "Just getting ready for my next opponent.”

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