Pitt coach calls out Louisville fan in 77-51 loss
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — David Padgett thought his Louisville team would come out with more intensity Tuesday night, and the Cardinals proved their interim coach right.
Quentin Snider scored 19 points to lead Louisville to a 77-51 victory over Pittsburgh.
In the Cardinals’ Atlantic Coast Conference opener, they used a 17-0 run to take a 28-12 lead with 7:48 left in the first half and led by at least 11 the rest of the way.
“It was good to see them respond that way,” Padgett said after Louisville lost 90-61 to Kentucky on Friday.
The Cardinals (11-3) shot 50 percent from the floor, the third time this season they made at least half of their shots. Deng Adel added 12 points for Louisville, which had four players in double figures.
While the Cardinals tried to put the Kentucky loss behind them, sophomore Ryan McMahon is hoping they can still take something from it.
“Hopefully, that will fuel us for motivation throughout the rest of the season, it was pretty unforgettable,” said McMahon, who scored eight of his 10 points during the decisive run.
The Panthers (8-7, 0-2) made five of their first six baskets then missed their next eight as the Cardinals pulled away. Held to a season-low in points for the second straight game, Pittsburgh made just four of its final 17 shots in the first half and shot just 35 percent overall.
Parker Stewart led the Panthers with 12 points.
STALLINGS VERBAL WITH FAN
Late in the game, Pittsburgh coach Kevin Stallings got into a verbal tussle with a heckling fan near the Panthers’ bench. Stallings allegedly told a fan that at least his team didn’t pay players $100,000, referencing a claim in an ongoing FBI investigation that Louisville orchestrated such a payment to five-star recruit Brian Bowen.
The investigation led to the dismissal of coach Rick Pitino and prompted the school to make Bowen ineligible.
In the postgame press conference, Stallings admitted to the confrontation with the fan, but didn’t reveal what he said.
“Somebody said something bad about my players,” Stallings said. “So, I’m just going to stick up for my players. Probably said the wrong thing, but I’m not going to let people talk crap about my players.”
Padgett said he wasn’t aware of the incident until a question was asked in his press conference. He knows the team has been — and most likely will be throughout the season — heckled on the road. At Purdue, Boilermakers fan wore FBI shirts.
“We’ve just got to ignore that,” Padgett said. “Our players at Purdue, they didn’t let it bother them, so it’s not anything we’re going to talk about or pay attention to.”
Pittsburgh: The Panthers, who have 11 new players on the roster, are still trying to find an identity midway through the season. On Tuesday, Stallings employed his 11th different lineup — starting five freshmen for the first time in program history. Senior forward Ryan Luther missed his fifth straight game with an injured right foot.
Junior Jared Wilson-Frame came off the bench for the first time this season after struggling in the last three games.
“Of course we’re searching for something that works. It’s just trying to reward guys that are playing a bit better,” he said.
Louisville: The Cardinals recovered a bit from their lopsided loss at Kentucky, but questions remain. Louisville hasn’t beaten a team currently rated in the top 100 of the RPI. Louisville has plenty of opportunities during the next month — nine of its next 10 opponents are in the top 100.
Padgett said he’s telling his players to stay focused.
“That’s the only way we can look at it,” he said. “In leagues like this, and I remember from my playing days in the Big East, you can’t look ahead. I mean, you just can’t.”
Pittsburgh dropped to 0-2 in conference play for the first time as an ACC member. The last time the Panthers started conference play with two losses was 2012-13, their last season in the Big East. Louisville’s 17-0 run was the second-best this season. The Cardinals had an 18-0 run against Siena on Dec. 6.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers travel to Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Louisville: The Cardinals travel to No. 25 Clemson on Saturday.