Big East action pits Panthers against Cardinals

Currently mired in another losing streak, ranked Louisville in Big East Conference action at KFC Yum! Center.

Pittsburgh, which earlier this season suffered an unsightly eight-game slide, has gone from winning four in a row to dropping just as many games and is now a mere 4-11 in conference because of it. Last weekend, the team was held below 50 points for the second straight game as it tallied just 47 points in a nine- point loss to USF at home.

As for the Cardinals, a team which ripped off 12 straight wins to begin 2011-12 against mostly lackluster opponents, the last three games have not gone as well as they would have hoped. Sure, Louisville logged a 90-82 win over DePaul last weekend, but the team had to go to overtime to make that happen. Five days prior, the squad lost out on a golden opportunity against Syracuse (52-51) at home, and then on Thursday night Louisville bowed at Cincinnati, 60-56. With a 9-6 record in conference, the Cardinals were still in the top half of the Big East standings entering the weekend.

Thanks to a 73-62 win in Pittsburgh in the first meeting of the season last month, the Cardinals now own a 6-5 advantage in the all-time series. Louisville has won three of the four matchups played on its home floor over the years as well against the Panthers.

Trailing by just a single point at the break against USF the last time out, the Panthers allowed the visitors to score the first eight points of the second half and from there Pittsburgh was doomed. Not a single starter scored in double figures for the Panthers, although Nasir Robinson came close with nine points, which went along with his game-high 11 rebounds. Instead, it was reserve J.J. Moore who tallied 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor, as the team shot just 34.6 percent from the field and 3-of-12 behind the three-point line. Despite shooting just 1-of-7 from the floor last week against the Bulls, Ashton Gibbs is still the top scorer for the program with his 15.8 ppg, although his 38.8 percent shooting from the floor is a bit disappointing. Tray Woodall and Robinson are responsible for 12.2 and 11.2 ppg, respectively.

Louisville trailed by just two points at the break against the Bearcats a few nights back, but the Cardinals ended up shooting just 8-of-31 from the floor in the second half and missed all 10 chances behind the three-point line, en route to the disappointing four-point setback. Overall, the visitors to Fifth Third Arena made just 1-of-14 out on the perimeter and 34.5 percent from the floor overall, as Peyton Siva finished with 14 points and the trio of Chane Behanan, Gorgui Dieng and Russ Smith all tallied 11 points. One of the better overall defensive teams in the Big East this season, Louisville has held the competition to just 37.4 percent shooting from the floor, resulting in a mere 62.5 ppg. Kyle Kuric heads the list of scorers with his 12.9 ppg, although he missed all 11 of his field goal attempts against Cincinnati and finished with just as many points (four) as he did personal fouls. Russ Smith checks in with 12.0 ppg, while Siva (8.7 ppg) directs the offense with 135 assists, but that doesn't make up for his mere 20.8 percent shooting beyond the arc.