The eighth-seeded Panthers could not have picked a worse time to play their worst game of the season Thursday afternoon. They shot a woeful 35 percent from the field and an even more pitiful 5.9 percent (1-for-17) from behind the three-point arc which contributed to a 73-55 loss to ninth-seeded Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament second round game at Salt Lake City.
Center Steve Adams had a breakout game with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Unfortunately, he had little support as Pitt was out of sync on both sides of the floor throughout the game. Pitt's entire starting five made only two field goals in the first half.
"We just kept fighting," Adams said.
Tray Woodall played his worst game of the season by shooting 1-for-12 from the floor for 2 points including 0-for-5 from three-point range. He also committed five turnovers and only had one assist before fouling out late in the game.
"It's tough we had to end our season like this," Woodall said. "It's a bitter taste in my mouth to end my career with one of worst game I've ever played."
The Panthers (24-9) committed 15 turnovers which Wichita State (27-8) converted into 21 points. The Shockers also shot a staggering 41 free throws and made 33 of them. Pitt was also out-rebounded 37-32.
The low-scoring first half stayed close throughout. The game was tied 15-15 with six minutes left as neither team could find any offensive touch. Neither team led by more than two points for most of the first half.
Toward the end of the first half, Lamar Patterson drove to the hoop but was called for a questionable flagrant foul as his elbow brushed against a Shocker defender. It helped fuel Wichita State to a 7-0 run to end the half and the Shockers took a 26-21 lead at the break.
Pitt remained flat after halftime while the Shockers stormed out of the locker room with a 5-0 run and took a 30-21 lead less than two minutes into the second half. The Panthers fell behind by double digits midway through the second half and never threatened the rest of the game.
Adams was the only Panther to score in double figures. Malcolm Armstead led the Shockers with 22 points, Cleanthony Early added 21 points, and Carl Hall added 11 points.
The Shockers will face top-seeded Gonzaga on Saturday in the next round of the NCAA Tournament after the Zags beat Southern 64-58. The Panthers will return home to lick their wounds and look forward to next season, which will be their first in the ACC.
Adams said after the game he plans on returning for his sophomore season at Pitt.