The Pittsburgh Panthers (8-6, 0-1) came out aggressive early in the game on Saturday afternoon. It helped them limit the Miami Hurricanes (12-1, 1-0) to one-and-done possessions, and opened up opportunities for points in the paint. However, it also contributed to foul trouble and poor positioning on the defensive end. While Pitt trailed by just one point, 19-18, at the 3:42 mark in the first half, they were outscored by Miami 11-1 to close the half.
Some teams aren’t able to continue their momentum coming out of the half. The Hurricanes weren’t one of those teams. They capitalized on two, quick turnovers by the Panthers and converted their first four attempts from the floor, extending their lead to 36-22.
Miami had a pretty simple formula on both ends of the floor for the rest of the game: They either scored at the rim or shot uncontested three-pointers. Defensively, they applied a ton of on-ball pressure on freshman point guard Marcus Carr and senior Jonathan Milligan. That forced an already out-of-sorts Pitt team into a greater state of confusion on the offensive end. The result was a lopsided 67-53 victory for the away team.
On the bright side, several Panthers flashed their potential. Carr was able to get into the paint, drove both directions confidently, and demonstrated the kind of vision that is fitting of the position. At times, it looked like freshman forward Terrell Brown was a little overwhelmed and the game was too fast for him. That’s not uncommon for a young player, and once things slow down for him I think he’s going to be a really solid player.
After the game, both freshman guard/forward Shamiel Stevenson and junior Jared Wilson-Frame understood the importance of playing well for the entire game.
Stevenson said, “We need to put a whole game together. We’re a young team.”
Wilson-Frame echoed that sentiment, “We have to put a full 40 together, that’s it.”
Stevenson finished with a team-high 16 points on 6-9 from the floor. He was the lone bright spot early in the second half, scoring every point for Pitt until the 13:33 mark. Head coach Kevin Stallings also thought highly of his perfomance, “I really liked how he attacked the game.”
Wilson-Frame added 13 points on 5-13 shooting. He went 0-3 from deep, but looked to attack the basket whenever the opportunity presented itself.
The Hurricanes saw four players reach double-figures, led by junior guard Anthony Lawrence with 12 points. Four starters shot over 50% for the game. The multifaceted attack was something Wilson-Frame noted after the game:
“They have four or five guys who are really good with the ball in their hands.”
The Panthers will try to rebound at the Louisville Cardinals (10-3) next Tuesday as they open ACC play.