Pitt has had some tough shooting nights over the last half a decade. The Panthers had another one of those during Wednesday’s season opener against St. Francis.
There are plenty of reasons that could happen. The Panthers have been notoriously streaky, especially from long range, with the group of players that returned to start the 2020-21 season. Those not returning were making their NCAA debuts. All were shooting in a bare empty gym.
But what happened on defense Wednesday was shocking. The Panthers allowed 46 points in the first half to the Red Flash and trailed by 20 at one point before eventually losing 80-70, their first lost in 30 all-time games against the nearby squad from Loretto, Pa.
“Right away, they were able to get into a rhythm offensively,” head coach Jeff Capel said. “We didn’t pressure. We didn’t contest. They were able to drive us. I was surpised by that. … They smacked us right in the mouth.”