It’s been a long time since Pitt has been in an NCAA tournament game - seven years to be exact, and longer still since they’d won one.
They made up for it to an extent Tuesday night with an exciting game that, like much of the season, saw Pitt overcoming a lot to win.
Pitt was missing not only John Hugley, who they had been missing for most of the season, but his slim freshman backup Federiko Federiko was out with what is hopefully a mild knee injury.
His backup, Guillermo Diaz Graham, held his own against Mississippi State’s Tolu Smith, who outweighs him by about 50 lbs.
It was a tight game throughout but the closing minutes were really dramatic. First Mississippi State took the lead back and then Jamarius Burton hit a really tough shot to take it back for the Panthers.
And then Diaz Graham stepped up with a play that Pitt fans will talk about for years: Smith drove to the basket and Diaz Graham, running right, blocked him with his left hand.
It was a beautiful basketball play and he celebrated like it was. It should also be huge boost for his confidence. We’re really looking forward to seeing Guillermon and his twin brother Jorge develop.