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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • 9:10 am

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • 9:10 am

Takeaways | Men’s basketball falters, women’s basketball dominates

First-year+guard+Aaryn+Battle+%281%29+controls+the+ball+during+the+game+against+Saint+Francis+at+the+Petersen+Events+Center+on+Wednesday+night.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) controls the ball during the game against Saint Francis at the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday night.

Pitt men’s and women’s basketball split their contests this week as the men’s team dropped its home ACC-SEC Challenge matchup with Missouri 71-64 before the women’s team defeated Saint Francis 87-62. Men’s basketball now sits at 5-2 overall heading into its first conference game of the season, while women’s basketball stands at 3-5 overall a month out from its first ACC contest.

Here are four takeaways from the two games.

Men’s Takeaways 

Shot-making is suddenly a concern

If the Panthers plan on remaining competitive in a much-improved ACC this season, finding a remedy for their poor shooting numbers is a necessity. 

The Panthers finished their game against Missouri with 64 points — their lowest total of the season thus far — while shooting 34 percent from the field and 28 percent from behind the arc. Senior forward Blake Hinson accounted for a vast majority of Pitt’s production as he went 7-for-12 overall and 5-for-8 from three-point range. The rest of the team couldn’t follow suit, however, as they shot a combined 2-for-17 from deep and 9-for-35 from the floor.

The cracks in Pitt’s offense are revealing themselves as the competition stiffens. After two subpar performances against a pair of high-major opponents in Florida and Missouri, the Panthers must buck their current trend before it becomes the norm. The team relies on its shooting due to a seeming lack of inside scoring ability on the roster, and it possesses the personnel necessary for that style of play despite the recent results. There’s no reason for panic quite yet, but Pitt is currently walking a thin line. 

First-year guards experience growing pains 

First-year guards Carlton “Bub” Carrington and Jaland Lowe are in an awkward situation in that they are among the primary ball-handlers for a team with NCAA tournament aspirations despite their collective status as newcomers to the collegiate level. As one would expect, both players are undergoing an adjustment period amidst a tough schedule as they focus on honing their craft. 

Carrington finished second on the team in scoring with 14 points and first in both rebounds and assists with seven and four, respectively. On the flip side, however, he shot an inefficient 4-for-14 from the field and turned the ball over three times while also recording a plus-minus of -8. In only 12 minutes on the floor, Lowe scored four points, yet ended the game with two turnovers and a plus-minus of -5. 

Carrington and Lowe are taking their lumps as of right now, but it will make them better in the long run. Inconsistency comes with the territory for most first-years, and it’s no different for Pitt. That shouldn’t take away from the growth and contributions Carrington and Lowe have exhibited thus far, though, as both players remain incredibly important to the Panthers’ success as their games progress. 

Women’s Takeaways

Strong all-around defensive effort aids Pitt

Pitt’s defense has struggled at times this season under first-year head coach Tory Verdi, but it flipped a switch as the unit took control of the game against Saint Francis. 

The Panthers held the Red Flash to 62 points on 38.7% shooting from the field and 31.6% from behind the arc — all of which are totals that surpass Pitt’s current season averages. The Panthers didn’t stop there, though, as they also came away with five blocks and 18 turnovers, which they converted into 20 points on the offensive end. 

Pitt has remained competitive in every game of its season thus far despite a sub-500 record, which is a testament to the chemistry and foundation the team has cultivated in a short amount of time. With ACC play on the horizon, the Panthers’ recent efforts suggest they’re ready for that challenge. 

Panthers take command in the paint and on the boards

The Panthers’ size and physicality, two defining traits of the team, proved too tough of a challenge for Saint Francis on both ends of the floor. 

Pitt logged 38 points in the paint along with 16 second-chance points, largely due to its 13 offensive rebounds on the night. Liatu King, the Panthers’ leading scorer, was the largest beneficiary as she came away with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting despite not attempting a three-pointer. On the defensive side, Pitt recorded 29 rebounds and limited the Red Flash to 24 points in the paint and just six second-chance points. 

The Panthers’ prowess in this area of the game helps them mask some of their deficiencies, such as their three-point shooting, and represents a winning formula they can depend on moving forward.

About the Contributor
Jack Markowski, Senior Staff Writer