Pitt was competitive against No. 1 Syracuse, but the team’s cold shooting was (again) its downfall as the Panthers lost 71-63 to the Orange. Losing by eight against the No. 1 team is hardly an embarrassment, but it’s still another loss for Pitt. The team has now lost seven in a row, and with ranked Louisville coming to town this weekend, that streak could get even worse.
But to tonight’s game, Pitt showed signs of breaking out of its funk, but didn’t have enough to knock off the Orange thanks in part to shooting only 39 percent from the field. Ashton Gibbs, who appeared to be on track after a breakout game against Marquette this weekend, was only 4-of-12, finishing with a disappointing ten points. But he wasn’t the only culprit – Nasir Robinson was 1-of-5, Talib Zanna was 3-of-8, and Dante Taylor and J.J. Moore were each 2-of-7 off the bench.
I wrote in the game preview that Pitt would need to have more players step up offensively to have a chance to win. A few did that, and Pitt was able to get 30 points from its bench. Because of that and a huge 38-24 edge on the boards, the Panthers were able to keep the game marginally close.
Much of the problem for Pitt, though, was getting out to a 13-0 deficit after missing their first six shots. That really put the Panthers in the hole and made it difficult to come back. They did, though, getting to within four in the second half, but didn’t quite have enough.
One bright spot was freshman Cameron Wright. Wright, commonly derided for his questionable play, showed up in a big way. He had ten points on 4-6 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes of action. Redshirt freshman Isaiah Epps again got the start and again was scoreless. It’s only been one good game, but it will be interesting to see if Jamie Dixon goes with Wright as the starter in the next game after two scoreless performances from Epps.
Next up for Pitt is that ESPN Gameday contest on Saturday against Louisville. The Panthers will return home desperately needing a win to get on track.
For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation’s Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.