Pitt Crumbles Midway Through The Second Half, Falls To Louisville 69-56


Feb 11, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Shaqquan Aaron (21) tries to strip the ball from Pittsburgh Panthers forward Michael Young (2) during the first half at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt went on the road to the KFC Yum Center to look for revenge and a big-time ACC road victory against the No. 9 Louisville Cardinals.

WTAE somehow decided to drop the game from television, so many fans were not able to watch a big ACC game.

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Desperate to improve its resume, Pitt was up 45-39 but crumbled, unable to make a basket for a stretch of over ten minutes.  Pitt fell apart, as everything went right for the Cardinals in a 69-56 win.

Louisville finished the game on an impressive 30-7 run, in which it looked like Pitt ran out of gas.  The Cardinals didn’t even make a three-pointer.

After playing a strong 8 minutes in the second half, Pitt only made two baskets in the final 12 minutes of the game, plus they turned the ball over several times and were dominated in the paint.

For Pitt (16-9, 5-6 ACC), sophomore forward Michael Young scored 16 points, and sophomore forward Jamel Artis was held to 15 points and 9 rebounds.  Pitt’s guards combined for a total of 19 points, and that Is not a recipe for a victory.

For Louisville (20-4, 8-3 ACC), junior forward Montrezl Harrell scored a game-high 28 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks.  Sophomore guard Terry Rozier scored 22 points and 10 rebounds.

With senior guard Cameron Wright out for the game with injury, sophomore forward Sheldon Jeter got the deserved start after his big 18-point outing against Syracuse last weekend.

This also led to some playing time (12 minutes) for junior walk-on guard Mike Lecak.

Jeter opened up the scoring with a jumper and Pitt grasped an early 4-0 lead.   Louisville countered with a 9-0 run to make it 9-4 four minutes into the game.

A Harrell lay-up gave the Cardinals a seven-point lead midway through the half, but a Young lay-up tied the game at 19 with five minutes remaining.

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  • Harrell scored the next 8 points for the Cardinals, as Louisville went into the half leading 27-22.  Pitt missed three of four key free throws late.

    At the half, Harrell already had 14 points on 7 of 9 shooting, so Pitt needed to address him.  In the first half, Pitt shot poorly (31% on 8 of 26 shots) compared to Louisville (55% on 12 of 22 shots), but the Panthers only trailed by 5 points going into the second half.

    Pitt came out in the second half and punched Louisville in the mouth, as a James Robinson three-pointer gave Pitt a 45-39 advantage with 12 minutes remaining.

    Then the wheels fell off.

    A Harrell dunk tied the game at 45, and a Snider jumped put Louisville up 4 on a 10-0 run.

    Rozier and Harrell dominated down the stretch, putting Louisville up 63-48 with under four minutes remaining.

    With under two minutes, trailing 67-50, Pitt finally made a basket with a Newkirk three-pointer.

    Since the 12:09 mark, Pitt only made two three-pointers and no two-pointers.

    Pitt looked poised to pull off a big road upset, but instead, the Panthers were blown off the court.

    The Cardinals finished with a shooting percentage of 50%, whereas Pitt shot just 38%.  The Panthers were out-rebounded 39-28, and Pitt could not stop Harrell.

    This was frustrating because 1) the game was dropped from WTAE television, 2) Pitt needed a big-time road win for its NCAA Tourney hopes and crumbled when it matter most, and 3) Pitt was up 45-39 and then finished the game on a 30-7 run by Louisville.


    Pitt will host No. 12 North Carolina on Saturday at noon.

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