PITTSBURGH — Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings is a fiery competitor, and his team’s fall to 0-14 in ACC play with an 81-53 loss at the hands of the Boston College Eagles on Tuesday didn’t sit well with him.
“I’m obviously very disappointed by the way we played in the second half,” Stallings said as his opening statement to the media after the game.
But Stallings, who has a reputation for being hard on his players and brutally honest in his public evaluation of them, held back from saying much more that could be perceived as criticism of his men.
“I’m going to say that’s on me,” Stallings said. “I’ve got to do more in practice to get them there. … I haven’t done my job. I tell them all the time, ‘Look in the mirror and talk to yourself first. Check yourself first before your start checking others.’ I’m going to try to practice what I preach.”
TAKING A PUNCH
Pitt absorbed a brutal run at the end of the first half, when Boston College went on a 16-4 surge to completely erase Pitt’s lead.
Coming out in the second half, instead of punching back, the Panthers absorbed another blow, with Boston College starting on a 9-0 run and taking a lead the Panthers could never overcome.
“Every time we kind of get hit, a team goes on a 10- run or something, we kind of fall back, and that can’t happen,” Stewart said. “When that happens, we have to hit them just as hard as they hit us.”
“I think we’ve got a little bit of an ‘uh-oh’ effect when someone makes a run,” Stallings said. “
Pitt got two offensive rebounds — one by Jared Wilson-Frame after a long shot and the other when Boston College deflected the ball out of bounds. Forwards Terrell Brown, Kene Chukwuka and Shamiel Stevenson combined for eight total rebounds, none of them on the offensive glass, in 57 minutes.
“At some point, our frontcourt guys should be getting an offensive rebound,” Stallings said. “You shouldn’t be play 20 or 30 minutes and not get an offensive rebound, but I’m just going to say that’s on me. I’ve got to do more in practice to get them there.”
The lack of offensive rebounding has doomed the Panthers all season, especially when compared with their propensity for allowing them. Boston College had 18 for 14 second-chance points.
ROUGH DAYS AHEAD?
Pitt had just one night off after Sunday’s loss to Louisville to prep for the Eagles. They now have four days off before they visit Florida State.
It sounds as if it might be a rough few days of practice for the Panthers.
“The two things that have bothered us all year, turnovers and rebounding, were big problems,” Stallings said. “That’s on me. We’ve got to create some more adverse things here in practice just to create some physicality, create some tougher situations, so we respond better when something like that happens.”
THE SPECTER OF 0-18
Not that there are any easy games in the ACC, but Boston College was one of the few remaining winnable games on Pitt’s schedule. KenPom.com gave the Panthers a 29 percent chance of winning the game. The site gives similar odds when Pitt hosts Wake Forest on Feb. 21. Otherwise, they’re given a 3 percent shot at Florida State, 5 percent at home against Virginia and 6 percent at Notre Dame.
The Panthers are then favored to finish 0-18 in conference play, but Stewart said that’s not something that’s been on the team’s mind. They’re just focused on getting better and facing the next opponent.
“We don’t have that in our head,” he said. “Our season’s over, we’re going 0-18 or whatever it is, that’s not in our head. We’re trying to win the last four or five games, however many we have left. We still believe as a team, we can win each game.”