The Pittsburgh Panthers came into the game on Sunday looking for a signature win in the ACC. What they got was a red hot Louisville Cardinals team that made a late push in the first half that Pitt was unable to rebound from.
The Panthers were able to hang with Louisville in the early going. They scored on five of their first seven possessions against the 2-3 zone of the Cardinals. Particularly, by working the high post area. A jumper by sophomore forward Michael Young from the high post gave them an 10-8 lead at the 14:30 mark.
But despite their early success on the offensive end, Pitt was unable to contain UL on the defensive end. Sophomore guard Terry Rozier either scored or assisted on the first 18 points scored by Louisville, and helped them build a seven-point advantage midway through the first half. It was then that the Cardinals deployed their signature full-court press, but the Panthers were able to score on their first three possessions against it.
Things went down hill from there, however. Down just four point with 4:01 remaining, sophomore forward Jamel Artis missed on a layup on what appeared to be a foul at the rim. UL opened up an eight-point lead thanks to back-to-back dunks by junior forward Montrezl Harrell. By halftime, they led Pitt 40-30.
Credit the Panthers for not folding to start the second half. They opened the half with renewed energy that netted them two easy baskets at the rim. They also prevented Louisville from scoring until the 15:04 mark. However, their early surge was also filled with misses from the free throw line and the floor.
The Cardinals refocused after the first media timeout. They went on an 8-2 run that pushed their lead to 13 by the second media timeout. Pitt was unable to convert decent looks, coupled with key baskets by senior guard Chris Jones, allowed UL to extend their lead. The Panthers made a late run; they cut the deficit to just eight points after a jumper by Artis. However, the game never felt in question. Louisville did just enough late to claim a 80-68 victory.
Pitt was paced by the 18 points of Artis, 16 points from junior point guard James Robinson, and 14 points by Young to go along with his game-high nine rebounds.
The Cardinals were led by a game-high 26 points by Rozier. Jones and Harrell had 17 points each. The former had a game-high nine assists, while the latter had a team-high seven rebounds.
The Panthers shot just 37.3% from the field, while UL connected on 65.2% of their attempts and 50% on their three-point attempts.
Pitt will look to rebound at the Virginia Tech Hokies (8-10, 0-5) on Tuesday before a big game against the Notre Dame Irish (18-2, 6-1) at home on Saturday. Louisville will play the Boston College Eagles (8-9, 0-5) on Wednesday before a showdown at home against the North Carolina Tar Heels (16-4, 6-1) on Saturday.