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Louisville rides big first half to 85-80 win over Pitt

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Despite leading by 21 points at halftime and by as many as 26 in the second half, Louisville had to withstand a furious rally by Jamel Artis and Pitt to walk out of the KFC Yum Center with an 85-80 win Wednesday night.

After trailing by double digits for nearly the entire game, the Panthers went to a 1-3-1 defense early in the second half that slowed the Louisville offense down and helped force the Cardinals into 18 turnovers. Pitt also got an unreal performance from Artis, who scored a career-high 43 points on 15-of-22 shooting. The 43 points tied him for the second-most ever by a Panther in a single game.

Pitt's rally overshadowed what had been for the first 28 minutes or so perhaps the most complete effort of the season from Louisville.

Quentin Snider's hot-shooting helped the Cards race out to an early 27-11 lead that they would ultimately never relinquish. Snider connected on 7-of-11 shots to finish with a team-high 22 points. He also dished out a team-high five assists and recorded a pair of steals.

Deng Adel, who came off the bench for the first time this season after suffering a head injury against Georgia Tech, chipped in 15 points and six boards, while Donovan Mitchell and Ray Spalding also scored in double figures with 15 and 11 points, respectively.

The good news is that Louisville shot 47.5 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc, and out-rebounded a good rebounding Pitt team, 45-30. The bad news is that this game should have never been as nerve-racking in the final minutes as it was. It's also a safe bet that the Panthers will bust out more of the 1-3-1 when these two teams meet again at the Petersen Events Center in 13 days.

Beat Duke.