Pitt Men’s Basketball coach Jeff Capel was visibly frustrated as his team failed to execute a second-half offensive set, loudly slamming his hand beside a team staffer, but what he saw on the next defensive trip only left him more exasperated.
With Vanderbilt in transition, Pitt shifted towards the wings and left the middle of the floor, allowing Jordan Wright to easily convert a dunk.
When the final buzzer sounded, Pitt lost a 68-52 contest Wednesday night at the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt (2-3) was led by Femi Odukale’s 12 points, his second time scoring the Panthers game-high output this season. Nate Santos added 11 points, while grabbing six rebounds.
Vanderbilt (4-1) saw Trey Thomas lead the way with 14 points. Scotty Pippen Jr picked up foul trouble in the second half, and finished with 11 points, while also recording five rebounds and five assists.
Both teams had struggles putting the ball through the basket in the first half.
Pitt could not get in a rhythm, though Santos was actively moving throughout the floor attempting to find shots and create second-chance opportunities.
In his third game of the season, Jamarius Burton provided a spark, first finding Odukale for a three-point basket and then Santos was able to do the same.
Pitt was able to hold Vanderbilt scoreless for 7:14 of game action, but during that time, its scoring was limited to nine points.
When Vanderbilt did get back on the attack, it replied to the tune of an 8-0 run of its own, and ultimately carried a 24-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The teams battled for control of the second half which Vanderbilt struck on first after a Myles Stute three-point basket, placing the Commodores in front by four points and did again later on in the half, padding the visitor’s advantage to seven.
Free throw opportunities helped Pitt’s cause as it was 11-for-13 from the foul line as Odukale, who entered play a 44.4% shooter at the line made all seven of his attempts.
Vanderbilt saw its lead fall to two points, before Trey Thomas sank successive three-point shots and Quentin Millora-Brown hit a jumper off the glass to extend the lead to double digits for the first time.
With Pitt held scoreless for an additional two-plus minutes, Thomas sank another three, this time as he was falling to the floor, as Capel watched inside the coaching box, arms firmly crossed.
That Thomas three saw many fans leave their seats, calling it a night early.
Vanderbilt shot 57.7% from the field in the second half, to Pitt’s 37.5%.
Pitt continues this four-game homestand Saturday afternoon against UMBC at 2 p.m. in a contest carried by ACCN Extra.