Rick Pitino said in his postgame press conference after his team beat Pittsburgh 85 – 80 that if you just took a look at the statistics on the season and not the Louisville name, you would think they had only six or seven wins. This is coming from the coach of the No. 14 Louisville Cardinals. Even more impressive is the fact that the Cards improved to 14 – 3 with the win. This all coming against a top five schedule and with wins over Kentucky, Indiana, Purdue, and Wichita State.
Just like the Baylor game, this one was a tale of two halves, except this time the Cards came away with the win. The offensively challenged Cardinals were on fire in the first half. They shot 50 percent from the field and hit 5 of their seven three point attempts. They came into the game shooting 68.5 percent from the foul line, but hit 10 of 11 in the first half.
Defensively, the first half was just what Pitino ordered. U of L held the Panthers to 33.3 percent shooting. Nearly every shot was challenged and they forced Pittsburgh into 11 turnovers. All of this helped the Cards to a 47 – 26 halftime lead.
The second half began where the first half ended with the Cards jumping out to a 52 – 26 lead after a Quentin Snider jumper. Three straight Louisville turnovers allowed Pittsburgh to go on a 9 – 0 run to cut into Louisville’s lead. The Cards then scored the next seven points to push the lead back to 24.
Thanks to Jamel Artis, the Panthers would not go away. Artis scored 32 of his 43 points in the second half. He simply could not be stopped, putting on what Pitino called a “Steph Curry” type of performance. He was 15 – 22 from the field, including 7 – 13 from three point range.
Pitt would cut the lead to five on several occasions, but it was too late as the Cards came away with the win, nullifying one of the greatest Yum Center performances by an opponent.
Quentin Snider tied his career high with 22 points. He also contributed five assists.
Deng Adel was not in the starting lineup, but came off of the bench to score 15 points and grab 6 rebounds.
Ray Spalding and Donovan Mitchell each grabbed a team high eight rebounds. Mitchell also finished with 11 points.
As with most of the season in the ACC, the Cards don’t get a break when it comes to their next game. The No. 7 Duke Blue Devils come into the Yum Center for a heavyweight battle Saturday at 12:00.