Sophomores David Johnson and Samuell Williamson each picked up their first career double-doubles, Carlik Jones scored 11 points in his return and Louisville defeated short-handed Pittsburgh 64-54 on Tuesday night.
Johnson scored 17 points with 11 rebounds, and Williamson had 14 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots as Louisville controlled the second half.
With 47% shooting and a 45-26 edge in rebounds, the Cardinals (5-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) looked very different than the all-sophomore and freshman unit that fell by nearly 40 at Wisconsin their last time out.
Louisville had been idled 18 days by coronavirus concerns and Jones, among the ACC leaders in points, rebounds and assists, had still not cleared NCAA return protocols in time for the Wisconsin game.
It was Pitt’s turn to be short-handed Tuesday. Coach Jeff Capel was still off the sideline after a positive test for COVID-19, and two of the ACC’s top scorers, Justin Champagnie (17.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game) and Anthony Toney (16.2/5.0), were out with injuries.
The Panthers (5-2, 1-1) fell behind by 15 midway though the first half, but Femi Odukale hit consecutive 3-pointers to launch a 19-4 run that forged a 28-28 tie with just over a minute left.
Louisville took a 30-28 lead into the break and stayed out front until the final buzzer. A late 8-2 run in which Williamson and Jones did all the scoring pushed the lead to a comfortable 12 points with just over a minute to go.
Without Champagnie or Toney, Pitt struggled with shooting late in second half, at one point having two attempts blocked and missing four of five as Louisville pulled away.
Odukale scored 16 points for his first double-figure game. The freshman was key in the first half, making five consecutive shots and scoring 12 points to keep Pitt in it.
After halftime, Odukale was held to four points on 2-for-6 shooting. Xavier Johnson added 10 points.
Champagnie may miss six to eight weeks with a knee injury suffered in practice over the weekend. Toney has a right ankle injury and is listed day-to-day.