In what could easily be considered the most 360 degree turnaround of the season, the young Pittsburgh Panthers (7-5) found a way to hold off a second half charge from the Delaware State Hornets (2-11) and win 74-68.
Pitt was led by Jared Wilson-Frame’s 13 points and Kavon Waller had 17 points in Delaware State’s huge comeback effort.
Pitt was the more highly effective team in the first half as they wet 8-16 from three and had been 7-10 at one point. They were given a ton of uncontested looks and made good on them with every chance they got.
They led by as much as 27 at one point before taking a 44-22 lead into the locker room. It was Pitt’s highest halftime total on the campaign.
Whatever happened in the locker room changed the dynamic for both teams. Pitt scored six points in the first eight minutes of the second half and Delaware State started knocking down open looks to cut the lead to 13.
Even later into the game, Pitt went ice cold, shooting 5-19 from three in the second half and allowing the Hornets to get within two late in the game. Pitt got late free throws from Wilson-Frame and Jonathan Milligan to seal the deal and come away with the victory.
Head coach Kevin Stallings was a bit perplexed after the game.
“I didn’t have to be that hard. Unfortunately, it was.” Stallings said following the game.
Stallings particularly wasn’t happy with the lethargic Panthers that showed up in the second half.
“Our team is not such that we can take our foot off the gas pedal,” Stallings said. “That’s not who we are.”
- Pitt misses Ryan Luther bad. The first half was encouraging to see. The Panthers came out knowing they were the better team and it gave them a season high 44 points at halftime. They missed tons of open looks in the second half and it just seemed like a team missing their best player. It also didn’t help watching Kene Chukwuka and Peace Illegomah get completely out-muscled in the low post for rebounds on both the offensive and defensive side of the basketball. That will be something the Panthers need to address without Luther.
- Shamiel Stevenson is a bit frustrated. Stevenson had a lackluster game against McNeese State and followed it up with another dud tonight. While he did come down with 7 rebounds, Stevenson only had 9 points and shot 2-7 from the field. He is the main focus of rebounding now for Pitt with the Luther injury and he did his part there tonight. The Panthers could’ve used his presence down low as far as the offensive end was concerned but that didn’t show up tonight.
- Terrell Brown was one of the lone bright spots for the Panthers tonight over the course of the whole game. He only played 16 minutes and put up 4 points and 2 rebounds, which doesn’t constitute the most flashy stat line. What he did his best work on was defense. Brown had 3 blocks and a steal for the Panthers and did a solid job of guarding his assignment throughout the night. He had one of those games where he din’t get to play a ton but made his presence felt on defense and should’ve made a solid impression on coach Stallings for more playing time in the coming weeks.