"Some teams will give up when another makes everything the way Pittsburgh did," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff, whose team stands at 3-2 after the loss. "But our guys kept fighting. I couldn't be prouder of the effort. They went toe-to-toe with an ACC team playing at its best on its own floor, and they refused to fold. We had a chance to cut it to four with under two minutes to go and ran a play to get a good look for who I think is our best shooter. Sometimes the shots don't go in."
The Flashes out-toughed Pittsburgh for most of the first half. They trailed by a slim 32-29 margin with three minutes to play before halftime and out-rebounded the Panthers 17-8 to that point, including an 11-2 advantage on the offensive end.
Pittsburgh then switched out of its usual man-to-man defense and sat back in a 2-3 zone for the rest of the game.
By the 14:56 mark of the second half, the Panthers enjoyed a seemingly commanding 17-point advantage. Pollard, Deon Edwin and Chris Ortiz all had an impact off the bench, while Hall made plays on both ends of the floor.
Pollard converted 9-for-13 from the field while leading a Kent State bench that outscored the Panthers' reserves 32-16. Hall, meanwhile added seven rebounds to his second 20-plus scoring effort of the season. He also finished with four assists and two steals in 35 minutes.
Khaliq Spicer's eight rebounds helped the Flashes to a 33-26 advantage on the boards. KSU also outscored Pittsburgh 36-28 in the paint and 18-10 on second-chance opportunities.
"We talked about how we have to out-Pitt Pittsburgh, a team that is one of the most physical teams you'll find," said Senderoff. "I think we did that. Pitt just shot the lights out."
The Panthers (4-0) led 42-32 at the break thanks to 6-of-7 shooting from three-point range and 16-for-26 shooting overall. For the game, Pittsburgh shot 56.4 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from behind the arc.
Michael Young led the Panthers with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting while Jamel Artis and James Robinson added 19 and 18 points each. That trio combined to make 9-of-11 threes.
Kent State is back in action on Saturday, Dec. 5 when it takes on Cleveland State at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
(Courtesy of Kent State Athletics)