Pitt’s basketball team was without its most important player in senior big man Ryan Luther on Saturday. It ended up not mattering, though, as the Panthers (6-5) cruised to an easy 72-51 victory over McNeese (2-7) on Saturday.
Luther apparently has another foot injury (stress reaction) and will be out for at least a couple of weeks, according to head coach Kevin Stallings after the game. He missed a decent amount of time last season with a foot injury and that ended up hurting the team. It will hurt even more this year because he’s the team’s top scorer and rebounder. Pitt has a couple of more non-conference games but begins ACC play exactly two weeks from now with a game against Miami on December 30.
The thing that jumps out is how much Pitt shot from long distance today. The Panthers took 19 three-pointers in the first half and they didn’t stop there, finishing with 33 on the day. I don’t know where that stands in terms of team records or anything but the 19 in the first half certainly has to be up there.
The good news? After a slow start, Pitt actually made quite a few of them, connecting 14 times to shoot 42 percent from beyond the arc. They nearly shot as well from that range as they did from the field in general, in fact. For the game, the Panthers shot 44% from the field.
Despite missing Luther, the Panthers still pulled down 47 rebounds and were tied with McNeese in that category. Shamiel Stevenson, the team’s second-best rebounder, had eight to lead the team. That wasn’t unexpected but the guy who tied him with eight, reserve guard Parker Stewart, definitely was.
Pitt got its usual strong game offensively from Marcus Carr, who had 17 points and six assists. His biggest issue this year has been turnovers and after having a total of ten in the past two games, he had none today. The Panthers also got a great game out of Jared Wilson-Frame, who’s kind of struggled a little. He’s been up and down quite a bit and after a bad game against West Virginia (3-10 for nine points), he had 19 points on 7-11 shooting to go along with five rebounds. It was great to see him pick up the slack with Luther out.
McNeese is, in a word, bad. But I still expected the game to be much closer when it was learned that Luther was out. A 21-point win without arguably your best player was a nice surprise.
And congrats to NJPanther, who guessed 72 points on the nose to win the bobblehead. I’ll shoot you a message.