Pitt Falls Hard to Boston College 81-58

Just when you thought the Pitt Panthers basketball team was finally going to get that elusive first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) win of the season, the potential win fell from within  their grasp like a hot potato in a disappointing 23 point loss.

After all, this Boston College team did upset Duke.

What made this loss even worse than the previous 13 losses was the fact that the Panthers had a lead for more than the first 5 minutes of the game, it was truly a tale of 2 Pitt teams: The one who played to their potential, and the other that we’ve seen fall on their faces all season. Unfortunately, the Panthers are now have only 8 wins against 19  losses overall and an agonizing 0-14 in ACC play.

“This one is more disappointing than others.” Said Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings. “To get doubled up in the second half, that shouldn’t happen.”

The Panthers  punched Boston College in the mouth early and often in the first half, a shot from bryond the arc  by forward Parker Stewart  propelled Pitt  to an early 11-3 lead. Coach Stallings troops  also showed some defensive muscle, forcing B.C. turnovers  and controlling the boards snatching 11 rebounds as a team  (led by freshmen Terrell Brown and Khamron Davis’ 3 apiece)

Eventually, the Eagles clawed back with a few trey’s of their own to cut Pitt’s lead to  three points (11-8).The Panthers then exploded on a run that had them leading 30-19 motivating  the sparse Petersen Events Center crowd to rise to its feet.

But as high as the Panthers were soaring, eventually they fell back to earth and appearing to be the Panthers of old : turnovers, missed baskets and poor defense allowed Boston College to get back into the game and with 49 seconds left in the opening half , B.C. tied the game  when Eagles forward Nik Popovic made two field goals.

But Pittsburgh responded immediately regaining the lead when guard Marcus Carr hit both of his free throws giving Pitt a 34-32  halftime lead.

In the second half, Pitt was punchless as Boston College started on  a 7-0 run and led 43-34 before Pitt gaurd Jared Wilson-Frame’s 3-pointer cut the Eagles lead to 43-37. Stewart continued his 3-point magic knocking down his 4th one of the game closing to three points. But it just got worse for Pitt as the Eagles swooped in on the Panthers once increasing their lead to 12 (52-40).

Things went from bad to worse for the young Panthers as the Eagles continued to dominate  and strecthed their lead to a commanding 20 points with just  over 2 minutes left in regulation. The Eagles continued to fly to secure the 81-58 victory.

Boston College guard Jerome Robinson led all scorers with 27 points and Popovich led with 14 rebounds. The Eagles dominated in the paint as they out-rebounded Pitt 43-21. Guard Jordan Chatman had 17 points and hit 5 three-pointers. The Eagles improved to 16-10 (6-7 ACC)

For Pitt, Stewart had a career game with 16 points and hit 4 three-pointers, Wilson-Frame knocked down three shots from behind the 3-point line and scored 11 points. As for Pitt , I take you back to my hot Potato reference. Pittsburgh could not protect the ball committing  20 turnovers.

When asked on if the weight of the season and all the losses has gotten to his players, Stallings replied “Sure it is. It is. It’s been tough on them.”

The  Panthers have only four more chances to pick up their first conference win of the regular season. The next attempt will come Sunday, February 18th on the road against Florida State (17-8, 6-7 ACC),followed by two home games (Wake Forest,Virgnia) and then the season finale in South Bend against Notre Dame.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter


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