Coming off a five-game losing streak, Pitt was looking for redemption in a matchup against Syracuse on a snowy Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome. Instead, the streak extended to six, as the Panthers (8-11, 0-6 ACC) fell to the Orange (13-6, 4-2 ACC), 59-45.
The Panthers are still winless in the ACC, losing all six games they have played by double digits. The young squad struggled to score against Syracuse’s tough zone defense, shooting at only 35 percent and going extended periods without a single point.
The first half was a low-scoring affair, with the Orange claiming a 27-22 lead going into the half.
Both sides struggled to hold onto and shoot the basketball, with the Panthers committing 10 turnovers. There was also a seven-minute stretch — and another four-minute stretch at the end of the period — in which the Panthers did not score at all.
The highlight of the half came from first-year guard Parker Stewart, scoring 12 of the Panthers’ 22. All of Stewart’s first-half points came from behind the three, hitting four of seven attempts.
The half for Syracuse was not much different. The Orange shot a better percentage from the field at 41.7 percent, but struggled from three-point range. The team also found themselves struggling in the rebound department, with Pitt out-rebounding Syracuse.
Junior guard Frank Howard was the standout performer for Syracuse in the first half, scoring eight points, grabbing five rebounds, tallying three assists and adding four steals. Sophomore guard Tyus Battle closed out the half with four points in the final two minutes to give the Orange a slight advantage.
As the second half opened, Stewart continued to impress from the three-point range. He drained three more triples to push his total line to a career-high 23 points. Stewart was the lone bright spot for Pitt, scoring more than half of the team’s total points.
Turnovers continued to plague the Panthers, as they committed eight more to their game-total of 18. Scoring was at a premium, though, as they could only muster 45 points — their lowest this season.
The Orange came alive late in the contest, cleaning up their turnover total and finding some momentum on offense. Syracuse had three players score in the double digits in Howard, Battle and first-year forward Oshae Brissett.
Howard filled up the stat sheet for the Orange as he led the team in points, assists and steals. Howard also grabbed seven rebounds, coming in second on the team.
The Panthers will attempt to cut their losing streak again Saturday, as they travel to Durham, North Carolina, to take on No. 5 Duke for the second time this season. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.