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Pitt Basketball

Pitt Dominates Last-Place Louisville 75-54 Behind 23 Points From Greg Elliott

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Pitt basketball reached the final stop of a three-game road trip Wednesday night in Louisville, Kentucky against winless Louisville. The Cardinals entered 0-7 in ACC play and 2-16 under first-year head coach Kenny Payne. The Panthers took advantage of Louisville’s struggles and never allowed the Cardinals room to pull off the upset.

Entering as 9.5-point favorites, Pitt (13-6, 6-2 ACC) cruised to a 75-54 win against Louisville (2-17, 0-8 ACC) and 5-1 on the road in conference play.

Pitt went ahead 7-5 at the first media timeout but was countered by a 7-0 Cardinal run and Blake Hinson in early foul trouble with two. Louisville led 14-10 with 11:48 remaining in the first half before the Panthers’ offense came alive. 

Powered by four triples from Nike Sibande, the Panthers pulled ahead 22-16 and forced a Louisville timeout. Sibande’s spark off the bench contributed to a 13-0 run inside a 17-2 run entering the under-eight media timeout and the Panthers in front 27-16. Pitt shot 7-of-11 (63.6%) entering the under-eight media timeout.

Guillermo Diaz Graham shined in an increased role. The 7-footer totaled five points and five rebounds off the bench in the first half.

 

Pitt maintained the advantage at the final media timeout before the break at 3:29, ahead 31-20. The Panthers moved the ball well while capitalizing on 10 Cardinal turnovers to grab a 37-28 halftime lead.

Jeff Capel’s group shared the ball to the tune of 11 assists compared to only four for Louisville. Ahead by as much as 13, Pitt shot 46.7% from the field and 7-of-17 (41.2%) from three in the first 20 minutes. Sibande totaled 12 early points to guide all scorers. Elliott added nine points on 4-of-5 field goals while Blake Hinson and Federiko Federiko were both limited due to each picking up two fouls. Jamarius Burton recorded a relatively quiet first half, totaling four points and four assists. 

JJ Traynor paced Louisville with seven points while three other Cardinals totaled five. Jae’Lyn Withers was an early thorn in the Panthers’ side, scoring five early points, plus grabbing five boards. The Cardinals shot similarly from three (33.3%) as overall field goals (34.5%) to trim the double-digit deficit.

Louisville proved to be better than its record projected. The Panthers cooled off from three but continued to move the basketball offensively and play physically on the defensive end. 

Pitt’s lead remained at nine points, 44-35, entering the under-16 media timeout as both teams traded baskets. The inability to consistently score and limit offensive droughts hurt Louisville’s comeback attempt. 

Elliott continued to step up immensely for Pitt, recording 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting – including three triples – while the Panthers pushed the game back to 12 points at 52-40.

Pitt relied on Burton to be a dependable distributor while others held a more significant impact on the score sheet. The graduate student registered 10 points and eight assists with eight minutes remaining. 

Cardinal guard El Ellis helped keep his team alive throughout the evening, scoring 19 points and adding five assists.

Trailing 66-52 with three minutes remaining, Louisville could not find an extra gear to motor towards a comeback.

The Panthers finished the game with its largest lead at 21 and performed as they should have against possibly the country’s most disappointing team. Pitt totaled a 49.1% clip from the field and connected on 14-of-34 (41.2%) three-point shots. The team dominated overall ball movement and team basketball, totaling 21 assists to only six for the home team.

Elliott paced all players scoring 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting and four assists. Burton registered his first double-double of the campaign, chipping in 10 points and 11 assists. Sibande did not score in the second half, ending the game recording 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

 

The Panthers dominated despite foul trouble for Federiko and a lack of offense from Hinson and Nelly Cummings. Hinson and Cummings combined to shoot 3-of-19 for 11 points in the 21-point victory. 

Louisville shot 33.9% overall and missed seven of its eight three-point shots in the second half. Traynor finished scoring 14 points as the only other player, besides Ellis to contribute over 10 points. The Cardinals turned the basketball over 17 times. 

The victory marked the first time since Jan. 15, 2006 the Panthers defeated the Cardinals in Louisville and the first instance inside the KFC Yum! Center. Pitt won 61-57 at Freedom Hall during the 2005-2006 season.

Pitt returns home to the Petersen Events Center Saturday afternoon against Florida State beginning at 3 p.m. 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Columbus Panther
Columbus Panther
20 days ago

This team reminds me some of the early 2000’s teams we had before Howland really took off for us. They play hard and share the ball well. No one person stands out or will be NBA, but they believe in themselves and work hard. Traits that can be passed to the next more talented group that’ll hopefully get them over the proverbial hump.

Michael
Michael
20 days ago

I live in Louisville, and got to be on the floor for the game tonight (you can actually see my shoulder in the first and third videos above). I agree with Columbus Panther’s post, this team is so enjoyable to watch. Louisville’s coach, Kenny Payne, shared this tidbit after the game. Reporter: I heard that one of the Pitt players was talking trash to you? KP: Well, I could see the play developing. I yelled at our guy ‘Get here, get here!’. Unfortunately they got the shot in rhythm and hit the three. The Pitt player turned to me and… Read more »

Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
19 days ago
Reply to  Michael

If the Graham’s and Santos continue to grow and get better and keep contributing…..you could be right Mikey.

Ed Rose
Ed Rose
19 days ago
Reply to  Michael

That is awesome you were at the game yesterday! I never thought I would see the day Louisville was 2-18. I agree everyone is playing hard and playing like a team. It is an older team with good leadership. The just need to stay focused and keep winning.

Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
19 days ago

That’s what a good team does….to a bad team. Crush them ! Yum yum cardinal was good eatin.

Dixon
Dixon
19 days ago

Great to see Ellis step up with 23 pts on a night when Hinson and Cummings were struggling. Never know where the scoring will come from…good sign for this team.

kmp30
kmp30
19 days ago
Reply to  Dixon

yeah they’ve had several top scorers over the past 8 games or so. Really impressive. Hinson, Elliott, Cummings, Sibande, and Burton have all been the top scorers for our team against real competition. That’s production. Teams cant just focus on one or two players anymore like they have with Hugely and Champagnie in the past. It is nice to see. Hope they keep it up.

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