It hasn't been easy the past few weeks for Louisville fans and Wednesday night didn't bring any relief as the host Cardinals dropped their fourth straight contest in losing to DePaul 60-58 in overtime.
"We knew it was going to come down to the wire," Pitino said following the loss. "Every game is going to be difficult to win. We are suffering a low basketball IQ and we have to work through it."
From the opening tip the Cardinals offensive woes continued. While the Cardinals led for the majority of the opening frame, they were continually dominated on the glass, managing just one offensive rebound in 20 minutes.
Unable to open any sizeable margin throughout the first 18 minutes of play, the Cardinals went on an 8-2 run, which included a three-pointer and a dunk by Nate Daniels, to build a 31-23 lead. A jumper in the lane by DePaul's Drake Diener just before the clock expired left Louisville with a 31-25 halftime advantage.
Louisville limited DePaul to just 33.3% shooting during the first half, including just 1 of 9 from beyond the three-point arc. Despite thier poor shooting the visiting Blue Demons were able to stay close by dominating the Cardinals 26-13 on the boards.
The offensive problems escalated during the second half and overtime period as U of L only managed six made field goals during the final 25 minutes of play.
The Cardinals however, were able to continue to hold a slim lead by converting their free throws, including 10 makes by Francisco Garcia.
Trailing the Cardinals 47-40 with just over six minutes remaining, DePaul went a 15-5 run that knotted the score at 52 apiece with 16 seconds remaining.
Following two made foul shots by Garcia that gave the Cardinals a 54-53 lead, DePaul's Quemont Greer had an opportunity to seal the victory in regulation but only converted one of two foul attempts, sending the game into overtime.
An Otis George dunk just seconds into the extra five minutes of action looked promising, but it was the only field goal the team would score during the period.
"This is a very disappointing loss for us but great for them," said Pitino. "One of the reasons we are losing is that we are getting killed on the boards. When you get outrebounded like we did, you are going to lose. It's been every game of late. It's very disappointing and to lose this game at home in overtime."
Francisco Garcia paced the Cardinals with 19 points, while Larry O'Bannon added 12 points.
Louisville will next host nationally-ranked and rival Memphis on Saturday afternoon.
NOTES:This is the third overtime game this season and the second straight for the Cardinals. U of L is 0-3 in overtime contests this season, losing to Iowa on November 29 and Cincinnati on February 21.
Sophomore point guard Taquan Dean nailed a 3-pointer to give him 58 on the season, which moves him into 10th place on U of L's single-season list. Former Cardinal great DeJuan Wheat holds the single-season mark with 97 makes.
Dean also now has connected on 119 career three-pointers, moving him into 9th on the school's career list, surpassing Dwayne Morton. DeJuan Wheat also holds the mark for most career three's made with 323.
The win over Louisville at Freedom Hall snapped a string of 10 straight wins for U of L over DePaul. DePaul's last win in Louisville was December 13, 1986.
Sophomore Francisco Garcia established a new career-high for rebounds in a game with eight, besting his old mark of seven, which he set seven other times during his career. Garcia led the Cardinals with 19 points and eight boards. The 6-7 forward also blocked three shots. He has blocked as many as three shots on 11 occasions in his career and six times this year.
Senior Kendall Dartez tied his career-high for rebounds in a game with nine. He also recorded nine borards last season versus Cincinnati and earlier this year versus Houston.