Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Louisville head coach Rick Pitino called it a must win.
In the span of two weeks, his squad has gone from holding the No. 1 ranking to being on the verge of its longest losing streak in nearly nine years.
The 12th-ranked Cardinals had to sweat it out, but they're back in the win column following a 64-61 triumph over Pittsburgh.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak. Louisville hadn't dropped four in a row since Feb. 12-25, 2004, and hadn't lost four straight Big East tilts since joining the league in 2005-06.
Russ Smith netted 20 points to lead the Cardinals (17-4, 5-3 Big East), who played without starting forward Wayne Blackshear as he missed the contest with a right shoulder sprain.
Tray Woodall tallied 14 points for the Panthers (17-5, 5-4), who had their four-game winning streak snapped.