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Blackshear's 29 power No. 22 Virginia Tech by Pitt 70-64

PITTSBURGH (AP) Kerry Blackshear Jr. was mid-answer when the sight of a couple of Virginia Tech teammates recording his postgame interview with phone in hand became a bit too intrusive.

''I'm panicking, boy,'' Blackshear said. ''You've got to get that off me.''

It was the first time all day the junior forward looked rattled. Blackshear poured in a season-high 29 points during a near flawless performance to lead the 22nd-ranked Hokies to a 70-64 victory over slumping Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Blackshear overwhelmed the undersized Panthers. He made 8 of 9 shots from the field, including all three of his 3-point attempts, and went 10 of 11 from the free throw line in addition to grabbing nine rebounds as Virginia Tech (20-5, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) reached the 20-win mark for the fourth consecutive season.

The last three wins have come despite missing senior point guard Justin Robinson, who remains out indefinitely with a toe injury. After an initial wobble - the Hokies lost two of their first three without Robinson - they have found their footing behind Blackshear.

''We have to play through him,'' Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. ''He's our best defender. He's our best scorer. He's our best passer. He's our best playmaker and he has the best basketball IQ on our team.''

The Hokies relied on it when necessary against the Panthers. Blackshear scored a career-high 31 on 12-of-16 shooting last year against Pitt and was even more efficient this time around. Jumpers. Putbacks. Layups. Dunks. He was dominant from nearly start to finish no matter who the undersized Panthers put on him.

''I think they did a really good job of throwing different looks,'' Blackshear said. ''A couple of times I was like, `Oh wow.' I didn't know who was guarding me. They did a really good job of monstering, double-teaming the post but I found whoever was open.''

Though Pitt (12-14, 2-11) kept scrapping - at one point 6-3, 185-pound freshman Trey McGowens threw Blackshear to the floor as the two battled for a loose ball - the Panthers dropped their ninth straight.

Xavier Johnson led Pitt with 18 points. Sidy N'Dir chipped in 12 points and six rebounds but every time the Panthers appeared ready to make a push, the Hokies responded. When Johnson's 3-pointer drew the Panthers within 48-46 with 7:28 to go in the second half, Virginia Tech knocked down three straight 3s of its own -including one by Blackshear to extend the advantage to 59-47.

''It's an example of a veteran team, a team that's been together and had some experience, that's used to winning, to step up and make plays when we had momentum,'' first-year Pitt coach Jeff Capel said.

Pitt eventually cut it to 63-56 on a pair of free throws by Johnson with 1:58 remaining and created a turnover in the backcourt when N'Dir stepped in front of a pass. Panther guard Kham Davis drove to the basket for a layup but the bucket was waved off when officials called Davis for a charge.

Blackshear immediately converted two free throws at the other end to make it 65-56 and Virginia Tech did just enough down the stretch to win its fourth consecutive meeting with Pitt.

CAVALIERS AWAIT

The Hokies' poise down the stretch allows them to briefly exhale before a visit by fourth-ranked Virginia on Monday. The Cavaliers rolled in an 81-59 victory on Jan. 15. The Hokies know they need to be better in all phases this time around.

''Got to keep our poise,'' Blackshear said. ''I think they score just as good as anybody in the country. Defend just as good as anybody in the country. It's going to be a big game. Cassell is going to be rocking. We look forward to it.''

STAYING UPBEAT

A year after going winless in the ACC, Pitt's initially promising 2-2 start in the conference under Capel has faded though he remains impressed by his team's effort.

''I understand how hard this is going to be and it's not a quick fix,'' Capel said. ''We won a couple of games early and it changed some expectations for all of us. I think I've had a pretty good perspective on this. It's hard. It's really hard. It's frustrating. We want to be better, but we're getting better.''

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies seem to have overcome the offensive issues that plagued them as they tried to deal with the absence of their second-leading scorer in Robinson. Virginia Tech shot 51 percent (21 of 41) from the floor and 10 of 21 from 3-point range after shooting 48 percent in a win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Pitt: The problem for the Panthers is in some ways a matter of mere physics. The Panthers lack the size to create any sort of offensive threat inside, allowing teams to play zone and force them to chuck it from deep. Defensively there's little they can do against a legitimate post presence like Blackshear.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: The Hokies fell behind by 22 in the first half in the initial meeting with the Cavaliers and never recovered.

Pitt: Visits Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

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This story has been corrected to show that Blackshear's first name is Kerry.

Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

1st Half

Time Team Play Score
20:00   Jumpball received by Pittsburgh  
19:34   Sidy N'Dir missed jump shot  
19:33   Defensive rebound by Ahmed Hill  
19:33   Personal foul on Kene Chukwuka  
19:02   Lost ball turnover on Ty Outlaw, stolen by Sidy N'Dir  
18:59   Shooting foul on Nickeil Alexander-Walker  
18:59 +1 Kene Chukwuka made 1st of 2 free throws 0-1
18:59   Kene Chukwuka missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
18:59   Defensive rebound by Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
18:36   Ahmed Hill missed jump shot  
18:34   Defensive rebound by Xavier Johnson  
18:22   Offensive foul on Kene Chukwuka  
18:22   Turnover on Kene Chukwuka  
18:05 +2 Nickeil Alexander-Walker made running Jump Shot 2-1
17:47 +2 Sidy N'Dir made finger-roll layup 2-3
17:47   Shooting foul on Ahmed Hill  
17:48 +1 Sidy N'Dir made free throw 2-4
17:29 +3 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nickeil Alexander-Walker 5-4
17:10   Au'Diese Toney missed 3-pt. jump shot  
17:08   Defensive rebound by Ty Outlaw  
16:52   Shooting foul on Terrell Brown  
16:53   Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed 1st of 2 free throws  
16:53   Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
16:53   Defensive rebound by Au'Diese Toney  
16:33   Xavier Johnson missed floating jump shot  
16:31   Defensive rebound by Ty Outlaw  
16:21   Ahmed Hill missed 3-pt. jump shot  
16:19   Offensive rebound by Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
16:14 +3 Ahmed Hill made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nickeil Alexander-Walker 8-4
15:49   Trey McGowens missed 3-pt. jump shot  
15:47   Defensive rebound by Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
15:26 +2 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made jump shot, assist by Nickeil Alexander-Walker 10-4
15:06 +2 Xavier Johnson made driving layup 10-6
14:39 +2 Ahmed Hill made dunk, assist by Kerry Blackshear Jr. 12-6
14:25   Bad pass turnover on Xavier Johnson, stolen by Nickeil Alexander-Walker  
14:17   Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed driving layup, blocked by Terrell Brown  
14:15   Offensive rebound by Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
14:11   Ty Outlaw missed driving layup  
14:13   Defensive rebound by Pittsburgh  
13:48   Xavier Johnson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
13:46   Defensive rebound by Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
13:35   Shooting foul on Terrell Brown  
13:35 +1 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 1st of 2 free throws 13-6
13:35 +1 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 14-6
13:15   Personal foul on Isaiah Wilkins  
12:58   Traveling violation turnover on Xavier Johnson  
12:40   Bad pass turnover on Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
12:27   Jared Wilson-Frame missed 3-pt. jump shot  
12:25   Defensive rebound by Isaiah Wilkins  
12:15 +3 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Wabissa Bede 17-6
11:59   Out of bounds turnover on Trey McGowens  
11:31   Isaiah Wilkins missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:29   Defensive rebound by Sidy N'Dir  
11:17   Lost ball turnover on Malik Ellison, stolen by Wabissa Bede  
11:16   Personal foul on Malik Ellison  
10:55   Offensive foul on Nickeil Alexander-Walker  
10:55   Turnover on Nickeil Alexander-Walker  
10:33   Sidy N'Dir missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:31   Offensive rebound by Jared Wilson-Frame  
10:27 +2 Jared Wilson-Frame made dunk 17-8
10:04   Wabissa Bede missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:02   Defensive rebound by Jared Wilson-Frame  
9:54 +3 Trey McGowens made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Xavier Johnson 17-11
9:29   Wabissa Bede missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:25   Defensive rebound by Pittsburgh  
9:03   Xavier Johnson missed running Jump Shot  
9:01   Offensive rebound by Kene Chukwuka  
9:01   Kene Chukwuka missed tip-in  
9:00   Defensive rebound by Ty Outlaw  
8:33   Shooting foul on Xavier Johnson  
8:33 +1 Ahmed Hill made 1st of 3 free throws 18-11
8:33 +1 Ahmed Hill made 2nd of 3 free throws 19-11
8:33 +1 Ahmed Hill made 3rd of 3 free throws 20-11
8:17   Personal foul on P.J. Horne  
8:03   Lost ball turnover on Kene Chukwuka, stolen by Ty Outlaw  
7:44   Ahmed Hill missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:42   Defensive rebound by Sidy N'Dir  
7:21   Jumpball received by Virginia Tech  
7:21   Lost ball turnover on Xavier Johnson, stolen by Ahmed Hill  
7:07   Offensive foul on Ahmed Hill  
7:07   Turnover on Ahmed Hill  
6:49 +3 Trey McGowens made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Xavier Johnson 20-14
6:26   Shooting foul on Xavier Johnson  
6:26   Wabissa Bede missed 1st of 2 free throws  
6:26   Wabissa Bede missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
6:26   Defensive rebound by Trey McGowens  
6:16 +3 Jared Wilson-Frame made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Sidy N'Dir 20-17
5:52 +2 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made layup, assist by Jonathan Kabongo 22-17
5:35   Personal foul on Ty Outlaw  
5:35 +1 Sidy N'Dir made 1st of 2 free throws 22-18
5:35 +1 Sidy N'Dir made 2nd of 2 free throws 22-19
5:17   Lost ball turnover on Kerry Blackshear Jr., stolen by Au'Diese Toney  
5:10 +2 Au'Diese Toney made dunk, assist by Sidy N'Dir 22-21
4:51   Bad pass turnover on Ahmed Hill, stolen by Trey McGowens  
4:43   Traveling violation turnover on Sidy N'Dir  
4:17   Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:15   Defensive rebound by Trey McGowens  
4:14   Jumpball received by Pittsburgh  
3:45   Khameron Davis missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:43   Offensive rebound by Pittsburgh  
3:43   Shot clock violation turnover on Jared Wilson-Frame  
3:24   Offensive foul on Nickeil Alexander-Walker  
3:24   Turnover on Nickeil Alexander-Walker  
2:59   Lost ball turnover on Trey McGowens, stolen by Wabissa Bede  
2:54   Ahmed Hill missed driving layup  
2:52   Defensive rebound by Au'Diese Toney  
2:33 +3 Khameron Davis made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Trey McGowens 22-24
2:07   Personal foul on Khameron Davis  
2:07 +1 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 1st of 2 free throws 23-24
2:07 +1 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 24-24
1:58   Jared Wilson-Frame missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:56   Offensive rebound by Au'Diese Toney  
1:53   Au'Diese Toney missed dunk  
1:52   Defensive rebound by Ty Outlaw  
1:52   Jumpball received by Virginia Tech  
1:36   Personal foul on Sidy N'Dir  
1:36 +1 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 1st of 2 free throws 25-24
1:36 +1 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 26-24
1:12   Personal foul on Wabissa Bede  
1:12 +1 Sidy N'Dir made 1st of 2 free throws 26-25
1:12 +1 Sidy N'Dir made 2nd of 2 free throws 26-26
53.0   Kicked ball violation on Pittsburgh  
41.0 +3 Isaiah Wilkins made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Wabissa Bede 29-26
7.0   Sidy N'Dir missed driving layup  
5.0   Defensive rebound by Wabissa Bede  
0.0 +2 Wabissa Bede made driving layup 31-26
0.0   End of period  

2nd Half

Time Team Play Score
19:41   Personal foul on Ahmed Hill  
19:20   Sidy N'Dir missed 3-pt. jump shot  
19:18   Defensive rebound by Ty Outlaw  
18:50   Kerry Blackshear Jr. missed turnaround jump shot  
18:48   Defensive rebound by Kene Chukwuka  
18:28   Shooting foul on Isaiah Wilkins  
18:28 +1 Xavier Johnson made 1st of 3 free throws 31-27
18:28   Xavier Johnson missed 2nd of 3 free throws  
18:28 +1 Xavier Johnson made 3rd of 3 free throws 31-28
17:58   Wabissa Bede missed running Jump Shot  
17:56   Offensive rebound by Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
17:55 +2 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made dunk 33-28
17:44 +2 Sidy N'Dir made jump shot, assist by Xavier Johnson 33-30
17:18   Ahmed Hill missed 3-pt. jump shot  
17:16   Defensive rebound by Xavier Johnson  
17:07   Trey McGowens missed 3-pt. jump shot  
17:05   Defensive rebound by Ahmed Hill  
17:00   Lost ball turnover on Ahmed Hill, stolen by Trey McGowens  
16:57   Shooting foul on Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
16:57 +1 Au'Diese Toney made 1st of 2 free throws 33-31
16:57   Au'Diese Toney missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
16:57   Defensive rebound by Ty Outlaw  
16:36 +3 Jonathan Kabongo made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Wabissa Bede 36-31
16:17   Personal foul on Wabissa Bede  
16:11   Sidy N'Dir missed 3-pt. jump shot  
16:09   Offensive rebound by Kene Chukwuka  
16:08 +2 Kene Chukwuka made dunk 36-33
16:09   Shooting foul on Jonathan Kabongo  
16:08   Kene Chukwuka missed free throw  
16:08   Defensive rebound by Ahmed Hill  
15:48 +2 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made jump shot 38-33
15:31   Xavier Johnson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
15:29   Defensive rebound by Jonathan Kabongo  
15:17   Lost ball turnover on Wabissa Bede  
14:49   Jared Wilson-Frame missed 3-pt. jump shot  
14:47   Defensive rebound by Jonathan Kabongo  
14:47   Personal foul on Trey McGowens  
14:23   Lost ball turnover on Wabissa Bede  
13:52 +2 Jared Wilson-Frame made jump shot 38-35
13:16   Ty Outlaw missed 3-pt. jump shot  
13:15   Offensive rebound by Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
13:15   Personal foul on Xavier Johnson  
13:12 +3 Ahmed Hill made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Wabissa Bede 41-35
12:46 +2 Kene Chukwuka made layup, assist by Trey McGowens 41-37
12:26   Lost ball turnover on Nickeil Alexander-Walker, stolen by Au'Diese Toney  
12:20 +2 Trey McGowens made layup, assist by Au'Diese Toney 41-39
12:03   Wabissa Bede missed layup, blocked by Sidy N'Dir  
12:01   Offensive rebound by Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
11:59 +2 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made dunk 43-39
11:39   Jared Wilson-Frame missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:37   Defensive rebound by Jonathan Kabongo  
11:17   Personal foul on Kene Chukwuka  
11:15   Ahmed Hill missed jump shot  
11:13   Defensive rebound by Sidy N'Dir  
10:45 +2 Khameron Davis made running Jump Shot 43-41
10:30   Personal foul on Au'Diese Toney  
10:27 +3 Nickeil Alexander-Walker made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Wabissa Bede 46-41
10:19   Khameron Davis missed alley-oop shot  
10:17   Defensive rebound by Ty Outlaw  
10:00   Ahmed Hill missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:58   Defensive rebound by Jared Wilson-Frame  
9:49   Personal foul on Ty Outlaw  
9:39   Jared Wilson-Frame missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:37   Defensive rebound by Ahmed Hill  
9:12   Personal foul on Trey McGowens  
9:10 +2 Ahmed Hill made floating jump shot, assist by Wabissa Bede 48-41
8:46   Bad pass turnover on Xavier Johnson  
8:22   Ty Outlaw missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:20   Defensive rebound by Sidy N'Dir  
8:18   Shooting foul on Ahmed Hill  
8:18 +1 Sidy N'Dir made 1st of 2 free throws 48-42
8:18 +1 Sidy N'Dir made 2nd of 2 free throws 48-43
7:57   Offensive foul on Nickeil Alexander-Walker  
7:57   Turnover on Nickeil Alexander-Walker  
7:29 +3 Xavier Johnson made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Sidy N'Dir 48-46
7:07 +3 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 3-pt. jump shot 51-46
6:48   Traveling violation turnover on Xavier Johnson  
6:32 +3 Ty Outlaw made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Wabissa Bede 54-46
6:03   Bad pass turnover on Jared Wilson-Frame  
5:44 +3 Jonathan Kabongo made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Kerry Blackshear Jr. 57-46
5:21   Shooting foul on Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
5:21   Xavier Johnson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
5:21 +1 Xavier Johnson made 2nd of 2 free throws 57-47
4:58   Shooting foul on Kene Chukwuka  
4:58 +1 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 1st of 2 free throws 58-47
4:58 +1 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 59-47
4:41   Personal foul on Jonathan Kabongo  
4:41   Xavier Johnson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
4:41 +1 Xavier Johnson made 2nd of 2 free throws 59-48
4:25   Personal foul on Au'Diese Toney  
4:25   Kerry Blackshear Jr. missed free throw  
4:25   Defensive rebound by Au'Diese Toney  
4:13   Personal foul on Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
4:13 +1 Sidy N'Dir made 1st of 2 free throws 59-49
4:13   Sidy N'Dir missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
4:13   Offensive rebound by Sidy N'Dir  
3:55 +3 Xavier Johnson made 3-pt. jump shot 59-52
3:31 +2 Ty Outlaw made jump shot 61-52
3:19   Lost ball turnover on Sidy N'Dir, stolen by Jonathan Kabongo  
3:14   Jonathan Kabongo missed running Jump Shot  
3:14   Defensive rebound by Khameron Davis  
3:14   Personal foul on Kerry Blackshear Jr.  
3:14 +1 Khameron Davis made 1st of 2 free throws 61-53
3:14 +1 Khameron Davis made 2nd of 2 free throws 61-54
2:54   Offensive foul on P.J. Horne  
2:53   Turnover on P.J. Horne  
2:37   Personal foul on Jonathan Kabongo  
2:37   Trey McGowens missed 1st of 2 free throws  
2:37   Trey McGowens missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
2:37   Defensive rebound by Nickeil Alexander-Walker  
2:10 +2 Ty Outlaw made layup, assist by Kerry Blackshear Jr. 63-54
1:58   Shooting foul on Wabissa Bede  
1:58 +1 Xavier Johnson made 1st of 2 free throws 63-55
1:58 +1 Xavier Johnson made 2nd of 2 free throws 63-56
1:56   Bad pass turnover on Wabissa Bede, stolen by Sidy N'Dir  
1:55   Offensive foul on Khameron Davis  
1:55   Turnover on Khameron Davis  
1:54   Personal foul on Au'Diese Toney  
1:54 +1 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 1st of 2 free throws 64-56
1:54 +1 Kerry Blackshear Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 65-56
1:33 +2 Au'Diese Toney made layup, assist by Xavier Johnson 65-58
1:12   Personal foul on Trey McGowens  
1:12   Ahmed Hill missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:12 +1 Ahmed Hill made 2nd of 2 free throws 66-58
1:01   Sidy N'Dir missed 3-pt. jump shot  
59.0   Offensive rebound by Xavier Johnson  
56.0 +2 Xavier Johnson made running Jump Shot 66-60
44.0   Offensive foul on Nickeil Alexander-Walker  
45.0   Personal foul on Xavier Johnson  
45.0 +1 Nickeil Alexander-Walker made 1st of 2 free throws 67-60
45.0   Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
45.0   Defensive rebound by Sidy N'Dir  
33.0 +2 Trey McGowens made running Jump Shot, assist by Xavier Johnson 67-62
32.0   Bad pass turnover on Kerry Blackshear Jr., stolen by Sidy N'Dir  
22.0   Sidy N'Dir missed 3-pt. jump shot, blocked by Wabissa Bede  
30.0   Defensive rebound by Ty Outlaw  
18.0   Personal foul on Jared Wilson-Frame