With Ryan Luther missing Saturday’s basketball game and the news that he will be out for at least two weeks with a foot injury (stress reaction), the Panthers will obviously need to look elsewhere for some production.
The two players figuring to gain the most from Luther’s injury are big men Terrell Brown and Peace Ilegomah.
Both have played sparingly this season but saw a good bit of action on Saturday. Brown got the start in the place of Luther. Both Brown and Ilegomah will not only play but should play a lot.
Against McNeese, Brown played 24 minutes while Ilegomah played 16 to mixed results. Brown grabbed seven rebounds but was raw offensively and was only 1-5 from the field. Among his more curious attempts were his three three-pointers (all misses) that were pretty flat-footed. He must be able to make them because he wouldn’t have been taking them otherwise, but they weren’t falling on Saturday. Ilegomah had three blocks and three points with two rebounds, but also had two turnovers and also wasn’t much of an offensive factor.
The minutes were a sharp contrast for each player. Brown saw some action earlier this year with three games where he played more than ten minutes, but has barely played recently. Since playing 11 minutes against Penn State before Thanksgiving, he’s averaged only about two minutes per contest, playing sparingly. Ilegomah has played even less, failing to get on the court at all in five of Pitt’s 11 games this season. Before today, he had only played in two of the team’s last five games, getting on the court a total of seven minutes.
The somewhat good news here is that, as I wrote earlier, they will not be thrust straight into ACC play. They had the game against McNeese today and will have non-conference games against Delaware State and Towson. Luther is out for at least two weeks but could be back for ACC games, which start on December 30 with Miami. But if he’s out beyond that, Brown and Ilegomah will see some stiff competition.
Ready or not, the spotlight is now on them.