PITTSBURGH — On a Saturday afternoon that is loaded for Pitt athletics, the Pitt Men’s Basketball team (2-4) did not see the outcome they wanted to see.
Behind 14 three-pointers, including four each from guards Keondre Kennedy and L.J. Owens, the Retrievers were able to get out to a double-digit lead in the first half, a deficit the Panthers would be unable to overcome.
When Femi Odukale went to the bench with two personal fouls in the first half, the Panthers were leading 18-13, however, after Odukale’s exit, the Retrievers boat raced out to a 17-3 run. In the first half alone, UMBC had six different players register a three-point field goal.
While the Panthers went into the locker room down 55-44, they came out in the second half with a ferocity. Behind John Hugley’s thirteen second-half points and a clutch coast-to-coast dunk sequence by Mo Gueye, the Panthers cut the deficit to just five with a little bit over eleven lefts in the contest.
However, the relief would not last long for the Panthers. after a corner three by Kennedy, who put up 19 points on the day, UMBC extended their lead to twelve points on a sharp 7-0 run to take the wind out of the Panthers’ sails.
Hugley and Femi Odukale continued to try to will the Panthers back and combined for 40 points. Gueye’s 14 points brought the Panthers within range. However, it was no use, with the Panthers’ porous perimeter defense.
With UMBC up nine with three minutes left to go, it felt like maybe the Panthers had one last gasp within them to potentially bring it back. However, Owens hit a step-back three to extend the Retrievers’ lead to 12 with just under two minutes to deliver the dagger to Pitt.
The Panthers put up their best offensive performance of the season, including hitting 11 threes on the day. However, between 14 threes allowed and 14 turnovers committed, UMBC proved to be too much for the Panthers to overcome.
Pitt’s will welcome Minnesota to the Petersen Events Center on Tuesday, November 30th, for the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Tip-off is scheduled to be at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.