PITTSBURGH — Pitt had a strong second-half performance, but couldn’t overcome a slow start, as the Panthers dropped their fifth straight game in a 65-56 loss to Syracuse at Petersen Events Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers used an 11-0 run in the early part of the second half to close the Orange lead to three points after Syracuse had taken a 13-point advantage into the halftime break.
Terrell Brown scored six of his team-high 16 points in that stretch and Xavier Johnson contributed five of his 14 in that run. Johnson got into double figures for the second straight game and 20th time in 22 games to start his career, but he shot an inefficient 2 of 11 from the floor. He also had six assists.
Pitt’s last best chance came when Trey McGowens missed a 3-point shot with under a minute left and the Panthers down seven points. McGowens finished with just three points and was 0 for 5 from the floor. He did make one basket, a 3-pointer, but was called for an offensive foul for kicking out his legs, and the basket was waived off.
In the first half, Pitt shot an abysmal 26.1 percent from the floor and 21.4 percent from 3-point range, as the young Panthers once again struggled with Syracuse’s zone.
Forward Oshae Brissett led the Orange with 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting. After Pitt held guard Frank Howard to five points in the first half, Howard added on with eight in the second half to finish with 13.
Syracuse center Pascal Chukwu scored 10 points and left the game with 6:16 to play with an unspecified injury before retuning late in the game.
Jared Wilson-Frame finished with 12 points, all coming from beyond the arc, where he was 4 of 11.
Up next, Pitt (12-10, 2-7 in ACC) will visit Wake Forest on Wednesday, Feb. 5. That game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip off on ESPNU.