The Pitt Panthers (1-2) got their first victory of the season on Wednesday defeating UC Santa Barbara (1-1), 70-62 in front of the lowest regular season crowd in Petersen Events Center history at 2,685.
Pitt was led by Jared Wilson-Frame and Jonathan Milligan who both scored 14 points. Milligan’s output is a career-high. UCSB was led by Leland King II who dropped 22 points.
Coach Kevin Stallings gave some praise to his team afterwards.
“Work in progress,” Stallings said. “That fits us right now. But I thought there were some real bright spots in this game.”
Perhaps one of the biggest stories of the game was Pitt’s inability to defend in the first half, especially on the perimeter. UCSB was 55% from three-point land (8-of-15) after the first half. Big adjustments were seemingly made as Pitt allowed only a 33% (10 of 30) from three over the entirety of the game.
“They just played harder,” Stallings said. “They played with more energy than we did.”
Pitt was out-rebounded 49-36 but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Offensively, Pitt only grabbed 5 rebounds to UCSB’s 25. James Canty, a USCB forward, had 11 rebounds on his way to a double-double with 10 points as well. Ryan Luther also had a double-double for Pitt (13 PTS, 10 REB).
Despite Luther’s double-double, Stallings said he wishes Luther had the right midset.
“I wish he thought he was as good as I know he can be…He needs to go out and have fun.”
The Panthers committed a lot of sloppy turnovers early in the game but cleaned up their act with the ball in the second as they finished with only 12, four lower than their season average of 16 heading into the game.
Shamiel Stevenson had a good game for Pitt and had 11 points, 6 rebounds and added an assist in 28 minutes on the floor. At 6’6″, 230 pounds, Stevenson is quite nimble and has a solid shot. He had a big game for Pitt in the biggest of times hitting some late free throws to assure the win.
The win marks the 1,600th victory in the Panthers’ all-time history and gives them a bit of hope going forward. Their next game is against Penn State at 9:30 PM on November 20th at the Barclays Center in New York. It will be broadcast on ESPN3.