PITTSBURGH,PA – After a satisfactory non-conference schedule, the Pitt Panthers basketball team hoped to get off on the right foot in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play hosting 15th ranked Miami in the Petersen Events Center. Unfortunately Pitt fell to Miami 67-53 as the Hurricanes improved their record to 12-1.

The sparse crowd in atttendance included Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker (and Miami alum) Sean Spence, Who witnessed the Hurricanes execute a balanced attack with 4 players scoring in double-figures.Guard Anthony Lawrence II’s 12 points led the way and fellow guards Bruce Brown Jr and Ja’Quan Newton added 11 points as the “U”  used ‘small ball’ to beat the Panthers.

 

Pitt  started off strong, storming to a 7-4 lead, and remaining competitive the majority of the first half, but the Hurricanes used the shooting from beyond the arc by Guards Chris Lykes and Lawrence II  to quickly reduce the Panthers  lead and taking  a 20-18 lead with 2:39 left in the half, the Hurricanes never looked back.

In the second half, the Hurricanes proved they were just too much for the Panthers as they extended their lead by at least 20 points. The concerns about the Panthers game are nothing new: Not making baskets, sloppy ballhandling skills that result in turnovers and the one that really stands out to me: Lack of hustle on both sides of the court. At times it seemed like Miami was taking a ‘walk in the park’ through Pitt’s defense and the offensive rebounds were quite sparse.

But I honestly can’t say that about Shamiel Stevenson and Jared Wilson-Frame as they did their best to get Pitt back into the game. Stevenson led all scorers with 16 points and 4 rebounds, while Wilson-Frame added 13 points to go along with being 3-3 at the free-throw line. I’ll even give G Parker Stewart the nod as well as he hustled his way to 12 points. Other than that, if seemed like the frigid temperatures affected the rest of the team as they looked frozen out there.It also didn’t help the Panthers as they played their second game of the season without senior F Ryan Luther as he was seen wearing a walking boot on his right foot in Pregame warmups.

Bottom line is this: I believe that this was a winnable game for the Panthers, but they had to learn the had lesson that wins won’t be given to this team, despite their 7-5 non-conference record. But to beat a team that’s only lost once, you must beat them on the scoreboard where Miami was just a tad better.

“We just didn’t have enough answers today”. Said Pitt HC Kevin Stallings. “That’s a really good team.”

But alas, this is only the first ACC game for the Panthers and they need to learn from this and apply it to their next few games as they will take the road against Louisville (Jan 2nd) and Virginia Tech (Jan 6th) before returning home for a huge showdown vs. National Power Duke. Pitt will also get a second opportunity vs. Miami when they travel to South Beach January 31st.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com
Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

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