A 7-4 start for a Power 5 school like Pittsburgh doesn’t sound that great, but there’s reason to believe the Panthers will be more competitive this season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Before ACC action starts in earnest next week, they have a chance to add another win to the ledger Saturday when they host North Florida.

Pitt hasn’t played since Dec. 10, when it pulled away in the second half for a 91-66 rout of Sacred Heart at home. The Panthers led by just two points with 13:56 remaining but finished the game with a 35-12 run.

Nelly Cummings scored 24 points while Federiko Federiko enjoyed his best game for Pittsburgh with his first career double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds. Blake Hinson also turned in a double-double with 19 points and 11 boards.

Coach Jeff Capel was glad to get some time off after his team played 11 games in just over a month.

“Give these guys a few days, let their bodies get some rest and recover,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of games in a short period of time.”

Hinson’s 16.4 points and 7.0 rebounds lead the Panthers in both categories.

North Florida (3-6) is coming off its most lopsided win in nearly three years, routing Bethune-Cookman 88-48 on Dec. 10 in Jacksonville. The Ospreys canned 15 3-pointers and owned a 52-21 halftime lead.

“We had good shots but we gave them up for great shots,” said Oscar Berry, who had 11 points and six rebounds in his first start for North Florida.

Jose Placer pumped in a game-high 21 points for the Ospreys, while Carter Hendricksen and Jarius Hicklen each scored 15. North Florida also got the job done on the defensive end, limiting its MEAC opponent to 28.1 percent shooting from the field.

This will be the third matchup between Pittsburgh and UNF. The Panthers are 2-0, including an 89-47 rout 10 years ago.

–Field Level Media