LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For just the second time this season, Pitt’s defense allowed an opponent to shoot over 50 percent from the floor as the Panthers couldn’t handle Louisville’s attack in a 77-51 loss at KFC Yum! Center on Tuesday night.
Louisville is a team that over the years under head coach Rick Pitino has been known for it’s aggressive, trapping full-court defense, and even without Pitino, first-year head coach David Padgett has utilized the scheme. Pitt has struggled against presses all season, especially without the ball handling services of senior forward Ryan Luther, who missed his fifth consecutive game with a stress reaction in his right foot.
The Panthers worked hard to bring the ball across the time line and utilized a four-guard lineup at times to provide more ball handlers. It mostly worked, as Pitt turned the ball over 15 times, which is right about their season average of 14.8 per game.
When Pitt got into its half court offense, it was more hard work, as they were overmatched inside thanks to their small lineup. That meant Pitt had to settle for some longer shots, and though they got some open ones, Pitt finished 6-25 from 3-point range (24 percent).
With all the energy the Panthers were expending to get the ball across the line and work through their offensive sets, they didn’t seem to have much left for the other end of the floor. Louisville exploited its size advantage, with Deng Adel scoring 12 points, mostly from the paint. Outside, senior guard Quentin Snider was able to easily drive past Pitt’s gassed defenders. Snider finished with 19 points to lead all scorers.
Parker Stewart led the Panthers with 12 points. He was 3 of 6 from 3-point range. Kham Davis was 2-of-4 from long range while Marcus Carr, Jonathan Milligan and Jared Wilson-Frame combined to go 1 for 15.
With Pitt’s lone big man in the lineup having to deal with the likes of 6-foot-7 Adel, 6-foot-11 freshmen Malik Williams and 7-footer Anas Mahmoud, they quickly collected fouls. Kene Chukwuka fouled out after 17 minutes of action. Terrell Brown had four in his 18 minutes. Peace Ilegomah had three in just two minutes.
Pitt started Brown, Carr, Davis, Shamiel Stevenson and Stewart, giving the Panthers five starting freshmen for the first time in school history.