Fresh off a near-upset over nationally-ranked West Virginia, the Pitt Panthers basketball team were looking forward to building off their confidence from that game when they welcomed McNeese State to the Petersen Events Center and that request was granted as the Panthers easily disposed of them in a 72-51 defeat to improve their record to 6-5 on the season.
G Jared Wilson-Frame led Pitt with 19 points and freshman G Marcus Carr added 17 as the Panthers were without leading scorer and rebounder Ryan Luther as he missed the game due to a right foot injury. Luther is the team’s leading scorer (12.7ppg), rebounder (10.1ppg). He also leads in blocks (7) and steals (16). Luther also missed 12 games last season due to a stress fracture in his right foot.
So that left the rest of the Panthers to fend for themselves against a 2-6 Cowboys team and unfortunately, it didn’t start off so well for them as they looked like the clumsy Panthers team who lost 4 of their 5 games: Turning the ball over, bad defense and missed shots and after 3 minutes they trailed the Cowboys 10-3.
After a couple of timeouts, Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings got his team together and the Panthers went to work. I honestly believed that Wilson-Frame would be the difference-maker and he made my prediction come through as his 3-pointer ignited the Panthers and lead a comeback that had them leading 11-10 and then 14-12 late in the first half. To be honest, both teams weren’t playing that well as they missed shots and basically had a high school of a score (never mind the attendance) as Pitt only led 24-19 when both teams went into the locker room.
In the second half, it was basically all Pitt as they basically sent the Cowboys back home. They turned up the scoring and put the game out of reach with over 10 minutes to play. G Khameron Davis was 3-3 in 3-point baskets and Wilson-Frame went super-nova from beyond the 3-point mark as he was 5 for 7. G Parker Stewart and Carr also hit 2 threes apiece as the team went 14-33 (42.4%) overall. They also shot 44.4% as a team and tied the Cowboys with 47 rebounds. In Luther’s absence, F Shamiel Stevenson and Stewart each led Pitt with 8 rebounds. F C Terrell Brown got significant playing time as he had 2 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 24 minutes.
For the 2-7 Cowboys, G James Hervey led his team with 17 points. He also matched Wilson-Frame in 3-point baskets with 5. F Quatarrius Wilson added 11 points and led all players with 10 rebounds. G Jarren Greenwood also added 10 points.
As the Panthers get closer to Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play (which begins Dec 30th vs. Miami), they will face Delaware Tuesday night and will wrap up their non-conference schedule Dec 22nd vs. Towson.
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