Pitt’s basketball team was dealt a blow about ten days ago when they learned senior Ryan Luther would miss at least two weeks with a foot injury. But so far, the Panthers have weathered the storm without him and haven’t missed a beat due to some other players stepping up.
The Panthers’ first game without Luther came against McNeese and Pitt won that game by 21 points, anyway. Junior Jared Wilson-Frame played his best game of the year with 19 points and five rebounds, knocking down five three-pointers. Part of the problem with Wilson-Frame’s game has been his efficiency and low shooting percentage but in that game, he was 7-11 from the field.
Next, Pitt got big contributions from guards Jonathan Milligan and Khameron Davis against Delaware State. The pair combined for two of their best games of the season, scoring 23 points, including connecting on four of eight three-pointers while grabbing four steals.
Most recently, it was center Terrell Brown getting in the act. Against Towson in the Panthers’ last game, Brown played his best game of his career, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds off the bench.
Brown is one of the players who has benefited the most in terms of playing time in Luther’s absence. After playing in some of the early games, Brown was barely used, averaging three minutes per game in the five contests before Luther’s injury. Since then, though, he’s averaged 18 per game. And while he struggled against McNeese and Delaware State, he put together an incredible effort against Towson.
None of this is to suggest that Pitt doesn’t need Luther. To the contrary. While other players have stepped up, Luther is the most consistent player on the team and all of the other players mentioned have had ups and downs. In addition, the competition hasn’t been very tough. In the ACC, Pitt will face significantly more difficult opponents.
But if there’s been anything encouraging about his absence, it’s that a few other players have stepped up and proven themselves to be capable contributors when needed.