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Pitt upsets Louisville 65-53 to avenge close loss

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The Panthers, led by John Hugley and Jamarius Burton, earned their first win over the Cardinals since 2019

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt squared off with Louisville at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday, with the Panthers looking to avenge a 75-72 loss to the Cardinals on Jan. 5. The matchup was expected to be a close one, with Louisville entering the game as a 4.5-point favorite, and the two teams did not disappoint, as they engaged in a back-and-forth battle. But ultimately, the Panthers were able to upset the Cardinals 65-53.

John Hugley got to work early for Pitt, opening up the scoring with a layup and a made free throw to give the Panthers an early 3-0 lead. But the Cardinals would respond with an 8-0 run. Seven minutes into the contest, the score would be tied at 10-10. But the teams would not arrive at that point without controversy, as a questionable call by the ACC officiating crew saddled Hugley with his first foul, following a play in which Hugley fell while pursuing a high pass. Five minutes later, Hugley would draw another questionable call from the ACC officials after he was pushed to the ground by Malik Williams under the basket. A minute after the call, the Cardinals would tie the game at 17-17 on two made free throws by Williams.

The game would continue to shift back and forth as the opening half wore on, but Louisville stagnated in the final few minutes, opening the door for a Pitt comeback. The Panthers would take advantage, with Jamarius Burton scoring six points in six minutes, and by the time the halftime buzzer sounded, Pitt led 28-24. At the halftime break, Burton led all scorers, with 10 points, and the Panthers had secured just their fourth halftime lead of the entire season.

Pitt would not take its foot off the gas in the second half. Instead, Hugley would once again open the scoring, this time with an emphatic dunk, and he would quickly add a layup and two made free throws. That would bring his point total to 11 in a matter of 12 minutes of court time, and it would give Pitt a comfortable 36-28 lead. Louisville would continue to fight back, with El Ellis and Dre Davis both chipping in. However, the Panthers would show surprising poise in keeping the Cardinals at arm’s length. A Femi Odukale three would increase Pitt’s lead to 42-32 seven minutes into the final frame. From that point on, the Panthers would continue to build on their lead, with Burton notably contributing 10 more points in the final 12 minutes of the game.

When all was said and done, Pitt had come away with a 65-53 victory over Louisville. It was the Panthers’ first win over the Cardinals since 2019. But the game was a rarity for more than its outcome, as Pitt saw four players score in double figures. Jamarius Burton led the way, with 20 points and eight rebounds, and he was closely followed by John Hugley, who scored 19 points of his own. The two stars benefited from support from Mouhamdou Gueye, who chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds, and Femi Odukale, who had 10 points as well.

With the upset of Louisville, Pitt improved to 7-10 on the season and 2-4 in conference play. Meanwhile, Louisville fell to 10-7 and 4-3 in ACC competition. The outcome extended Louisville’s losing streak to three games and got Pitt back on the right track after its 77-61 loss to Syracuse. Pitt will look to build on its momentum this coming Wednesday at 9 p.m., when the team hosts Virginia at the Pete.