ANNAPOLIS, Md. — For a team featuring seven players making their Division I debuts and eight playing their first game in a Pitt uniform, the Panthers looked uncommonly poised through 20 minutes of basketball at Alumni Hall.
But Division I basketball is played for 40 minutes, and the Panthers came out in the early part of the second half and finally looked like what they were — a bunch of freshmen playing their first game. The slow start to the second period cost them, as the Navy Midshipmen pulled away for a 71-62 victory in the Veterans Classic. Pitt started the second half 0 for 14 from the floor and Navy pulled out to an 11-point lead after the Panthers trailed by just one at the half. That turned out to the greater than the Midshipmen’s nine-point final margin of victory.
Jared Wilson-Frame led all Pitt scorers with 20 points in his first career Division I game. The junior college transfer was 8 of 17 from the floor and 4 of 11 from 3-point range in 33 minutes.
In the first half, Pitts offense was led almost exclusively by guards Jared Wilson-Frame and Marcus Carr. Wilson-Frame started the game with a pair of 3-pointers, and had 13 points at the break, while Carr had 12. Leading returning scorer Ryan Luther had six of his 14 points in the first half, but even some of his were from the outside.
Despite the slow start to the second half, the Panthers were able to close the game late. After Wilson-Frame and Luther made back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the Navy lead to four points with 1:52 remaining, Wilson-Frame missed two free-throws, and Khameron Davis committed his fifth personal foul at the other end.
Freshman Shamiel Stevenson had seven points in 30 minutes, but was ejected from the game with 40 seconds remaining for a flagrant foul. He threw a forearm to the back of a Navy player.
Carr and Davis had both been sidelined with injuries suffered in exhibition games in the week leading up to Pitt’s 20`17-18 season opener. Carr twisted his ankle in the exhibition against Slippery Rock and Davis dealt with a nagging foot ailment first encountered after the scrimmage with Villanova. Neither player started, but Carr played 31 minutes, third on the team.
The Panthers will return home to face Montana in the home opener at Petersen Events Center on Monday.