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Hapless offense dooms Pitt at Louisville

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Men's Basketball lost 41 to 59 to the Louisville Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday.  Nikki Moriello | Visual Editor

Men's Basketball lost 41 to 59 to the Louisville Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday. Nikki Moriello | Visual Editor

Men's Basketball lost 41 to 59 to the Louisville Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday. Nikki Moriello | Visual Editor

By Dan Sostek / Sports Editor

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At the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday evening, the Pitt offense never tasted success.

The No. 20 Panthers shot an abysmal 26.1 percent from the field, falling to the No. 20 Louisville Cardinals 59-41 in an ugly performance on the road.

Pitt won the tip, and Michael Young quickly nailed a long two to give Pitt the first lead of the game on its first possession.

Young took the first four shots for the Panthers, nailing three of them to give Pitt an early 6-3 advantage.

After a Louisville basket, the score sat at 6-5 for an extended period of time until Donovan Mitchell converted a left-handed layup to give Louisville a 7-6 with just under 14 minutes remaining in the half.

After Young converted one of two free throws, Jamel Artis became the second Panther to score, nailing a fadeaway jumper to give Pitt a 9-7 lead.

Pitt struggled against Louisville’s press, and turnovers led to four straight points for the Cardinals. The Panthers would finish with 19 turnovers on the game.

Another layup by Young and three converted free throws by Artis after Louisville fouled him on a long range attempt allowed Pitt to retake the advantage at 14-11.

But thanks to a 2-12 drought by the Pitt offense, the Cardinals once again retook the lead in the early seesawing affair, leading 15-14 at the third media timeout.

The Cardinals’ lead swelled even further following a 9-0 run, with Pitt shooting just 0-7 on field goals during the span.

The Panthers’ scoreless streak ended via a deep three by Damon Wilson, who was the first player not named Artis or Young to score for Pitt. The Panthers trailed 20-17, and the score would remain stagnant heading into the intermission.

A Chris Jones transition dunk gave Pitt some life in the second half, but Louisville still separated itself, taking a 29-19 lead after Young turned the ball over, leading to a layup by Chinanu Onuaku.

A Young layup diminished Louisville’s lead to single-digits, but the Panthers still sat at four points in the second half at the first media timeout.

Pitt had an opportunity to chip away at the lead after Louisville fouled Sheldon Jeter on a 3-point attempt, but Jeter missed all three, and the Cardinals’ Anas Mahmoud nailed a layup to turn the table on Pitt.

The Panthers continued to struggle offensively, falling behind by as much as 15.

Pitt cut the lead to single-digits after a fast break dunk by Ryan Luther. But that would be as close as the Panthers would get, losing their second game of the season — and their first conference contest.

Michael Young led Pitt with 18 points, while Artis tallied 11. They were the only two Panthers in double figures.

The Panthers also struggled distributing the ball, finishing with a season-low four assists.

Pitt had no answer for Onuaku, who totalled 18 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the game.

Pitt next plays on Saturday, when they face the Boston College Eagles at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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Hapless offense dooms Pitt at Louisville