Montrezl Harrell added 18 points and seven rebounds as the Cardinals (16-3, 4-2 ACC) bounced back from a loss to Duke by torching the Panthers. Louisville shot a season-high 65 percent (30 of 46) from the floor, riding Rozier and Jones early then clamping down late to halt a Pitt comeback.
Jamel Artis led the Panthers (13-7, 3-4) with 18 points and eight rebounds but Pitt struggled to keep the Cardinals in check. Pitt never led over the final 34 minutes. The Panthers cut a 16-point deficit to eight with 4:05 to play but Louisville made its free throws down the stretch.
The two teams, who developed a brief but physically heated rivalry during their stay in the Big East, played a slightly more genteel version befitting their new conference home.
The bruising, push-and-shove that highlighted previous incarnation was replaced by something a little more uptempo. The fact the Cardinals made shot after shot helped. Louisville's only cold spell came early in the second half, when the Cardinals missed their first seven field goal attempts to allow the Panthers to pull within 40-35.
Harrell ended the drought with a dunk and Jones popped a 3-pointer. Chinanu Onuaku made a lay-up while getting fouled. The 6-foot-10 sophomore pounded his chest before knocking down the free throw. Rozier later added a traditional three-point play of his own to make it 57-41.
Pitt drew within 66-58 on a Jamel Artis jumper with 4:05 remaining. The Panthers forced a Louisville turnover but Cameron Wright's 3-pointer from the corner hit nothing and Pitt would get no closer.
The Cardinals slogged through a miserable loss to the Blue Devils on Jan. 17, a game in which they shot just 30 percent from the floor and made just 4 of 25 3-pointers. Their touch returned against the Panthers, who have struggled to find the defensive tenacity that has long been their hallmark under Jamie Dixon.
Louisville hit eight of its first nine shots, with Rozier doing a little bit of everything, mixing in lay-ups with mid-range jumpers and a 3. The Panthers stayed in it for awhile behind some deft shooting over Louisville's zone. Chris Jones hit a 19-footer to pull Pitt within 26-24 before the Cardinals closed the half with a 14-6 burst fueled by their fullcourt pressure.
During one sequence Jamel Artis' lay-up was blocked by Onuaku at one end, leading to a Harrell dunk at the other. Chris Jones then came up with a loose ball on the inbounds and Harrell followed with another slam. Rozier knocked down a 3 and Jones stole a pass in the backcourt and hit an acrobatic lay-up while getting fouled as the Cardinals took control for good.