Pitt got its first taste of Big East play Tuesday night against Notre Dame and the result wasn’t pretty. The Panthers weren’t only beaten, but soundly defeated, losing 72-59. It’s not all that surprising that the Panthers lost the game, but in the manner they did.
For the fourth straight game against the Irish, they couldn’t get anything going. They came into the game averaging only about 50 points in those three games and they did scarcely better than that tonight.
The Panthers held a one-point halftime lead, but Notre Dame awakened in the second half to pull away. Pitt shot under 40% from the field and again proved that the offense still has a way to go.
Pitt’s best player, ironically, may have come from the bench. Backup forward Talib Zanna had 13 points and 12 rebounds giving Pitt some frontcourt help, but his effort wasn’t nearly enough to stop the Irish. Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley led the way for them with ten first-half rebounds and he finished with 14. But the Irish offense was led by the three-guard attack of Alex Dragicevich, Jerian Grant, and Eric Atkins. They combined for 52 points and Pitt simply had no answer for them.
The Panthers got Tray Woodall back from injury, but he clearly needs more work. He was scoreless in 18 minutes going 0-5 from the field and also had two turnovers to only two assists. Woodall’s return will definitely help Pitt, but he’s got a bit of rust to shake off first.
Notre Dame had problems shooting in the first half, but the second was an entirely different story as the Irish shot a blistering 75% from the field. Now with two straight losses, Pitt has to regroup to get back on track in the Big East.
For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation’s Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.