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Panthers Smashed by Louisville 94-60

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Five Louisville players scored in double-figures, while the Panthers connected on 20 field goals, shooting just 34.5% from the field in a 94-60 beating at the hands of the Cardinals at Petersen Events Center Sunday afternoon.

Sometimes a team just has your number.

For the Panthers, the number is 12, as in its 12th straight loss at the hands of Louisville, which was inevitable Sunday afternoon, as the faster, taller and better-equipped Cardinals raced Pitt (8-17, 0-12) out the door in the first 20 minutes, hanging a 46-20 lead at the break, and never looking back.

“They were bigger, faster and better at every turn than we were,” said coach Kevin Stallings. 

Louisville (17-8, 7-5), who was without the injured starting forward Deng Adel, terrorized the Panthers in the frontcourt, rattling off a 44-22 difference in points in the paint, a 37-28 rebound advantage and a combined 35 points and 17 rebounds from forward’s Ray Spalding, Anas Mahmoud and Jordan Nwora.

The Panthers shot just 7-of-28 (25%) from the field in the first half.

“We’re so shot dependent, especially on a day were Terrell (Brown) struggles and we knew that their length and size are amongst the best in the league,” elaborated coach on the size difference.  “We knew it could be tough for him; we tried to get him down there and in some mismatches.  Louisville’s length is problematic for us and it certainly was today.”

Brown finished with just one point going 0-for-7 from the field, while corralling six rebounds.  Kene Chukwuka added just four points and five rebounds from the starting forward spot.

Three Panthers ended in double-figures, including Parker Stewart (12), Jared Wilson-Frame (11) and the leading point-grabber Shamiel Stevenson with 15 points and five rebounds on the day.

“We haven’t really had everybody on this team contribute what they can do in the same game,” said Stewart, who finished 4-of-8 from the field with three 3-pointers.  “I’ve had some good games, but then Jared [Wilson-Frame] will have a good game when I’m off.  Terrell [Brown] had two good games in a row, but not so much tonight.  Once we figure out how to get everyone playing to their full potential on the same night, we will give someone a problem.”

The Cardinals handed Pitt the biggest problem with their speedy transition game, which resulted in a 15-0 difference in fast-break points, leading to a precision-first offense, boasting a season-best 23-8 assist/turnover ratio.  Quentin Snider led the way from the point guard position, dropping 11 points with five assists, while guard Darius Perry split points and assists at seven apiece.

“When we get the ball inside, that’s when we are usually at our best and our guards if they throw it in there to Anas and Ray, it’s not a black hole and they will pass it back out,” said Louisville interim head coach David Padgett.  “We had 23 assists tonight.  On 34 field goals, [that] is a good day.”

Padgett, who replaced Rick Pitino in late Sept. after the Hall of Fame coach stepped down amidst an F.B.I. investigation into the program, discussed what he saw in the Panthers in two games against them this year.

“They are young and it’s a tough situation, but the thing that impresses me is that they are competing,” the coach said.  “As an assistant coach, I have seen teams that have won six total games in a season and the main thing you worry about is if the team is giving up, and this team isn’t doing that at all.”

Louisville defeated the Panthers at home 77-51 on Jan. 2.

After the spread

The Panthers dropped their third straight game against the points, losing as +11.5 home underdogs.  The team is now 7-7 in ACC play.

The total, which was set at 134.5 points, went over with a combined 154 points scored, marking the second of three games in which a Pitt game has gone over.

Up next

The Panthers will look to best Boston College for their first ACC win, when they host the Eagles Tuesday night.  Pitt has won 11 straight games against BC dating back to the 2002.  Tipoff is set for 7 PM.

Panthers open the game dropping their first three 3-ponters, including two from Parker Stewart, which forced a Louisville timeout with 15:32 in the first half.

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