Artis, Wright lead Pitt to a 65-56 victory over Manhattan


In a game that the team controlled from opening tip, the Pitt Panthers’ men’s basketball team defeated the Manhattan Jaspers by a score of 65-56 at the Petersen Events Center Wednesday evening.        

The Panthers’ defense thrived early on in the game, as the team forced 10 turnovers within the first seven minutes of the game, and jumped out to an 11-2 lead following a three-pointer by sophomore Josh Newkirk with 13:19 remaining in the half.           

“The first eight minutes of the game really hurt us from a confidence standpoint,” Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello said. “We got a little trigger shocked because of the turnovers.”           

Despite the early separation that Pitt created, the Jaspers managed to remain competitive, as their constant full-court press defense and fast paced offense helped Manhattan head into the intermission only trailing 26-21.         

Pitt surged in the second half. Led by strong performances from post players Jamel Artis and Michael Young, the Panthers extended their lead to double figures five minutes into the period.        

After a James Robinson three-pointer with 6:04 remaining in the contest, Pitt’s lead grew to a game-high 16 points, and the victory seemed all but assured for the Panthers.

But after a couple of Pitt turnovers and missed shots, Manhattan was able to cut that deficit to seven with 1:50 remaining in the game.

“We just made bad decisions,” Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said.  “It wasn’t anything [Manhattan] had done. You can’t compound a mistake by making another.” 

Despite the trouble maintaining the large lead, the Panthers were able to escape with a comfortable nine-point win, the team’s third straight victory. 

In a game that Pitt never trailed, the team was led by Artis, who scored a career-high 20 points while tacking on eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.

“[I’m] just finding open spots and taking open shots,” the sophomore said. “My team believes in me, and they want me to shoot the ball and make plays.”

Senior guard Cameron Wright, who missed the first seven games of the season due to a broken foot, had his best game of the season, scoring 14 points while compiling two assists and two steals.

“I had my first solid week of practice for the first time this year,” Wright said. “My teammates did a good job getting me acclimated and passing me the ball.” 

Wright and the Panthers are off until Saturday, when they return to the Petersen Events Center to take on the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies. Tip off is scheduled for 4 pm.