The Pittsburgh Panthers came into tonight a 9.5 favorite against a struggling Louisville Cardinals team. The Cardinals were 0-7 in ACC play and 2-16 overall and after a slow start, the Panthers were able to pounce on their opponent.
The Panthers got off to a bit of a slow start against the Cardinals, not hitting their first field goal until almost four minutes into the game thanks to a Greg Elliot jumper. The Panthers continued to struggle on the offensive side of the ball for much of the first half until about halfway through when the bench started to breathe new life into the game.
Down 14-10, Sibande started the party with back-to-back threes to give the Panthers a 16-14 lead. Guillermo Diaz Graham added a three of his own to go along with his stellar work on the glass and from there the Panthers started to take control. The bench continued to push the game and capitalized on 10 Louisville turnovers. The Panthers took a comfortable lead into halftime 37-28.
Despite foul trouble for Federiko Federiko and Blake Hinson that held him without a basket, as well as no points from Nelly Cummings, the Panthers were in complete control.
To start the second half the Cardinals tried their best to bring keep themselves in the game. Guard El Ellis tried to help keep the Cardinals in the game leading the team with 19 points. The Cardinals were not able to avoid going into a drought and preventing the Panthers from going on another run. Greg Elliot led the Panthers with a team-high 23 points on 9 of 12 shooting and helped to bury the lowly Cardinals.
Nike Sibande didn’t score in the second half but still finished second on the team with 12 points. Jamarius Burton finished with his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 assists. The Panthers overall controlled the game and played their way getting 25 points off 17 turnovers. The Panthers also won the assist battle 21-6 with a flowing offense and stifling defense. Rebounding is still an issue losing the rebound battle thanks to giving up 11 offensive rebounds. In the end, though the Panthers went on the road in a place they haven’t won since 2006 and took care of business.
That concludes the Panthers three game road trip and they have now won two in a row. The Panthers will now start a three-game home stand starting Saturday against Florida State.