Pitt basketball loses opener to St. Francis

Capel said it was a lack of energy
St. Francis wins at Pitt
Pitt's Justin Champagnie Photo credit Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – A Western PA college basketball team was going to win their first game at the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday night. It wasn’t supposed to be St. Francis.

The Red Flash showed more hustle and took advantage of Pitt turnovers, 23 in all, to score 46 points in the first half leading to an 80-70 win over the Panthers.

“We are not as good as we thought we were,” said head coach Jeff Capel.  “It’s hard for young guys to understand that when we are just going against each other.  It sucks that it took losing for a lesson to be taught.”

Pitt would get no closer than 7 the last 26:41 minutes, and that was in the final seconds when the game was decided.  St. Francis was 0-29 lifetime against Pitt.

“We came out sluggish,” said junior AuDiese Toney, who led Pitt with 20 points.  “They hit us in the mouth, they gave us our own blood.  We didn’t carry the same energy over from a lack of energy in the arena.”

“We didn’t have the energy required to have a chance to be a good team and I’m not sure why,” Capel said.  “We were sluggish right away and St. Francis was able to get into a rhythm offensively.”

“Didn’t do a good job of defensive rebounding, panicked in the first half and St. Francis played off of that.  It’s hard when you have 23 turnovers and don’t shoot the ball well.”

Panthers shot under 40% and the 39% padded by the uncontested shots late in the game.

Junior guard Xavier Johnson had 9 points, 10 assists and 7 turnovers.  Freshmen John Hugley, who started, and William Jeffress each had 7 points and 4 rebounds.

Panthers host a Drexel team picked third in their league Saturday at 1.  Hear the game on 93.7 The Fan before Pitt football plays at Clemson at 3:30p.