LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Facing the No. 1 team in the country and one of the top scorers in the ACC, Pitt couldn’t quite last the full 40 minutes.
With 30 minutes gone, the Panthers trailed the top-ranked Louisville Cardinals by just five points.
But the game turned a few moments later.
Sophomore Pitt wing and defensive specialist Au’Diese Toney was called for a reaching foul, his fourth of the game. On the same play, the Pitt bench was assessed a technical foul, giving Louisville the ammunition the Cardinals needed to nearly double their lead to nine.
The Panthers never recovered, eventually falling, 64-46 to the No. 1 Cardinals at KFC Yum! Center.
The fourth foul on Toney was impactful in a number of ways. The 6-foot-6 wing was assigned to guard Jordan Nwora, the No. 2 scorer in the ACC entering Friday night’s game. He also was part of a second-half offensive charge that helped Pitt close the gap to five after trailing by 14 at the half.
With Toney battling foul trouble, Nwora capitalized, to the tune of 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
Louisville finished the game on a 17-4 run over the final 8:15, racing away from the deflated Panthers.
Pitt’s foul trouble also extended to point guard Xavier Johnson, who was also forced to exit prematurely. Johnson scored a team-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
Forward Eric Hamilton also reached double digits, scoring 10 points and adding three rebounds.
The Cardinals built their early first-half lead with laser accuracy from 3-point range. Louisville hit 8 of its first 12 shots from long range, with eight different players capitalizing. The Cardinals finished 11 of 26 from 3-point range (42.3%).
Pitt fell to 1-1 in ACC play and 7-3 overall. The Panthers have 10 days off before returning to play at Petersen Events Center on Dec. 16 against Northern Illinois.