Pitt

Panthers hold off Morehead State, but Stallings miffed by no ‘killer instinct’

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Kevin Stallings' defense is allowing an average of 40.33 points in the second half through six games -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS (File)

Kevin Stallings saw the nine three-pointers and the 16-point halftime lead as a chance to issue a stern challenge to his players.

He feared Pitt would let Morehead State back into the game with another poor second half, and though the Panthers eventually prevailed for a 76-63 win Friday night at the Petersen Events Center, his advice at halftime was not heeded and they hit a wall when their perimeter shooting faltered.

For the second time in four nights, Cam Johnson provided the lift, making a three-pointer after Morehead State cut its deficit to seven points with under seven minutes remaining, and Pitt made five free throws to pull away for what could have been a comfortable victory over an opponent playing without its head coach.