The last time the Pitt men’s basketball team played Louisville, Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings made headlines for yelling at a Louisville fan in the midst of a blow-out loss. This time around, Stallings stayed out of trouble — but the result was the same, as Pitt fell to Louisville 94-60.
Pitt (8-18 overall, 0-13 ACC) entered Sunday’s game against Louisville (18-8 overall, 8-5-0 ACC) riding a school-record 12-game losing streak. That streak extended to 13 as the Panthers struggled to find their shot and had no answer for a Louisville offense that shot 63 percent from the field.
Pitt hung around early because of 3-point shooting from first-year guard Parker Stewart. Stewart hit two shots from deep in the first five minutes to give Pitt an 11-7 lead, forcing Louisville to call a timeout with 15:34 remaining in the first half.
Stewart said this loss was particularly difficult because of how dominant Louisville was in the win.
“A loss is a loss, but when you lose like that at home, that’s kind of embarrassing,” Stewart said. “You don’t want to get beat that badly in anything you do.”
The Panthers’ 3-point shooting cooled off after the first five minutes. The team shot a combined 0-11 from beyond the arc over the last 15 minutes of the half. The Cardinals took advantage of the Panthers’ poor shooting to take a 26-17 lead with seven minutes remaining in the half.
Pitt junior guard/forward Jared Wilson-Frame got off to a poor start, shooting 0-4 with a turnover during the first half. Wilson-Frame, who has been the team’s leading scorer all season, has struggled in both of the Panthers’ matchups with the Cardinals.
He scored just six points on 2-13 shooting in the Panthers’ first game against Louisville on Jan. 2, and went 3-10 from the field for 11 points in Sunday’s loss.
Pitt first-year center Terrell Brown also had a disappointing first half against Louisville. After two encouraging performances against No. 19 North Carolina and No. 16 Clemson that saw Brown score 14 and 19 points, respectively, he failed to score in the first half, shooting 0-4 from the field. Brown ended the game without a made field goal.
Stallings cited Louisville’s length as the main reason Brown struggled against Louisville.
“We knew [Brown] could struggle. Their length inside is amongst the best in the league if not the best in the league,” Stallings said. “We knew it could be tough for him.”
Sophomore forward V.J. King led Louisville with nine points by the end of the first half. The Cardinals finished the half on a 20-1 run to take a 46-20 lead into halftime.
The second half opened up with a similar look to the first. Pitt missed another 3-point attempt as the shot clock expired on their first possession. Louisville followed that up immediately with an alley-oop from senior guard Quentin Snider to senior forward Anas Mahmoud.
Just two minutes into the second half, the Cardinals extended their lead to 30 points, 51-21. The Panthers got the deficit back down to 25 points, trailing 82-57 with 3:09 remaining in the game. But Louisville quickly reclaimed a 30-point lead after that and never gave it up, handing the Panthers their third straight loss of at least 30 points.
The Panthers went back and forth with the Cardinals for the rest of the half, but it wasn’t nearly enough. The Cardinals shot a staggering 63 percent from the field for the game while the Panthers shot just 34.5 percent.
Louisville dominated Pitt from the 3-point line as well, going 8-17 from deep for the game while Pitt went a paltry 7-27.
Louisville’s Snider was an efficient 3-5 from three, finishing the game with 11 points total. King and Mahmoud finished the game tied as Louisville’s leading scorers with 14 points each. First-year forward Shamiel Stevenson led the Panthers for the game with 15.
Louisville head coach David Padgett was optimistic about the future of Pitt’s team in the press conference after the game.
“The thing that impresses me, and I told Kevin this before the game, is that they’re competing. They’re playing hard the entire game,” Padgett said. “As long as the effort is there they’ll get better.”
The Panthers will try to get their first ACC win of the season against Boston College, Tuesday at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.