Pitt took some big steps forward recently with its four-game winning streak, but a huge one backwards following a loss to South Florida on the road, 63-51.
The box score will show that Pitt was done in by poor shooting and turnovers, but the Bulls’ defense had a lot to do with it. On the night, Pitt’s offense never got off the ground, and the team had another sub-40 percent shooting night from the field.
Just as the Panthers shot poorly, USF was hot from the field throughout the game, making just under 60 percent of their shots. In particular, Pitt had no answer for South Florida guard Hugh Robertson, who was 7-of-7 from the field and finished with 18 points.
The Panthers’ backcourt struggled all night long. The team’s leading scorer, Ashton Gibbs, was a dismal 2-of-9 from the field and had only four points. And a career-high 29 points against Villanova, Tray Woodall had only 11 tonight. Ashton Gibbs was held scoreless at the half, missing all of his four shots.
Where Pitt goes from here is anybody’s guess. Just as four straight wins didn’t guarantee the team an NCAA bid, one loss won’t kill all hope. But with only six games left, the Panthers can’t afford many more losses, unless they make a huge run in the Big East tournament.
The Panthers will continue their road trip with a trip to Seton Hall on Sunday.
For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.