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No. 11 Duke streaks into Pitt with six straight wins

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No. 14 Duke rides a six-game winning streak into Pitt’s Petersen Events Center to take on the Panthers in an Atlantic Coast Conference game on Tuesday night.

The Blue Devils (11-3, 2-1) are coming off a 67-59 win over Notre Dame on Saturday, Duke’s first road victory of the season. Mark Mitchell scored a career-high 23 points — 19 in the second half — for the winners.

It was the third game this season — and second in a row — that the sophomore forward has led the Blue Devils in scoring. He is averaging 12.8 points per game, third on the team behind Kyle Filipowski (16.8) and Jeremy Roach (14.8).

“You’ve seen what he’s done attacking the basket,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said of Mitchell. “And the biggest thing is that we talked to him about being decisive with his decision. If you shoot it, great. If you drive it, great. If you cut, great. I thought he did an incredible job of doing that. … To see it translate this way the last couple of games is great.”

Pitt (10-5, 1-3) also got a boost from its frontcourt in an 83-70 road win over Louisville on Saturday — the Panthers’ first ACC triumph of the season. Zack Austin and Blake Hinson collaborated for 41 points and seven 3-pointers for Pitt.

Hinson’s 21-point effort was a positive sign for the Panthers. He started the season as one of the most accurate shooters in the country but had gone 9 of 38 (23.7 percent) from the field over the prior three contests. A conversation with Panthers coach Jeff Capel, a former Duke player, might have gone a long way in helping him regain his form.

“I just think one of the biggest things is that he became outward again,” Capel said of Hinson. “He felt like he was letting us down. He felt like he was letting me down and his teammates down. Instead of continuing to be him, he became inward.

“I had a long talk with him Thursday after practice about being outward, because that’s who he has to be. Even if he’s not making shots, that’s who he has to be because these young guys look and start trying to figure out what’s wrong with our best player. It can make us panic. It was really good to see all of our guys be outward and share energy and positivity today.”

Hinson paces the Panthers with an average of 19.1 points per game, while Carlton Carrington averages 14.6 and Ishmael Leggett 12.6. Leggett missed the team’s last game with an injury.

Defense also was a boon for Pitt in its win over the Cardinals, as the Panthers totaled 28 points off of turnovers.

For the Blue Devils, Tuesday will mark Scheyer’s 51st game in charge. His 38-12 record is the best of any Duke head coach over their first 50 outings. Two of his wins came against Pitt last season.

–Field Level Media

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