PITTSBURGH — Again missing senior forward Ryan Luther with a foot injury, Pitt hung around with No. 15 for the first 20 minutes, but the deeper, more-talented Hurricanes pulled away late for a 67-53 victory to open ACC play for both teams.
The Panthers put together a pretty strong first half, but let things slip away in the latter stages. Pitt led by one at 18-17 with 7:35 left in the half after a Shamiel Stevenson layup. That was the last made basket of the half for the Panthers, as the Hurricanes went on an 13-1 run that was interrupted only by a Jonathan Milligan free throw.
The long Miami run turned what had been a close game up to that point into a comfortable lead for the Hurricanes and they took advantage early in the second period, pressing their advantage to 21 points at its largest.
Stevenson finished with 15 points to lead the Panthers. He was 6 of 9 from the floor and also had four rebounds. Jared Wilson-Frame (13) and Parker Stewart (12) also finished in double figures.
Without Luther, the Panthers struggled to deal with Miami’s size inside. They were out-rebounded, 31-23 and out-scored in the paint, 40-28. Terrell Brown, starting in Luther’s place, finished with four points and four rebounds in 24 minutes. Kene Chukwuka and Peace Ilegomah played a combined 16 minutes without scoring a point and combined for just one rebound.
Anthony Lawrence II, a 6-foot-7 swingman, led the Hurricanes with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He also had six rebounds. Preseason all-conference selection Bruce Brown, Jr. finished with 11 points and five rebonds for Miami.
Pitt will next take the floor on Jan. 2, when they’ll visit Louisville. Their next game at the Petersen Events Center will be Jan. 10 against Duke.