PITTSBURGH — Playing the worst team in Division I basketball, Pitt played its worst game of the year Tuesday, as the Panthers somehow parlayed a 22-point halftime lead into a 74-68 nail-biter against Delaware State.
The Panthers had an off second half shooting, as they went 5 of 19 (26.3 percent) in the second half from beyond the 3-point arc and were 17-26 from the free-throw line.
While Pitt’s offense was slipping, its defense didn’t fare much better. The Hornets shot 16 for 29 (55.2 percent) from the floor while Pitt was struggling on offense.
The Hornets utilized a myriad of changing defenses to keep Pitt shooting from outside and capitalized on the absence of Ryan Luther underneath, where Pitt was out-rebounded, 37-27 and outscored in the paint, 20-14.
Starting in Luther’s absence, Terrell Brown had four points and two rebounds in 16 minutes. Peace Ilegomah added two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes. Kene Chukwuka had no points and no rebounds in 12 minutes.
Pitt did get 13 points from Jonathan Milligan and Jared Wilson-Frame, as the Hornets packed in the interior and basically dared the Panthers to shoot. Pitt made just enough both from outside and at the line to do it. Khameron Davis made a corner 3-pointer with a minute and a half to go to give him 10 points and Milligan’s 12th and 13th points came from the free-throw line with 15 seconds to play.
The Panthers have one final non-conference tuneup, when they will host Towson on Friday before entering ACC play on Dec. 30 against Miami. Luther is not expected to return until that game, at the very earliest.