Defense key as Panthers survive in 58-54 victory over Bonnies

By Dan Sostek / Assistant Sports Editor

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In a hard-fought contest in which neither team could pull away, the Pitt Panthers’ men’s basketball team was able to eke out a victory against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies, securing a 58-54 win on Saturday afternoon. 

Sophomore forward Jamel Artis kicked off the scoring for the Pitt by nailing a contested three-pointer for the team’s first basket of the game, giving them a 3-2 lead over the Bonnies.

Following a pair of made free throws by guard Chris Jones, the Panthers would extend the lead to 11-5 with 13:44 remaining in the half. St. Bonaventure responded though, and recaptured a 12-11 lead with 9:29 remaining following a made jumper by Dion Wright.

The teams went back and forth for the rest of the half, and as the period ended it was the Bonnies who held the lead, as the Panthers trailed 25-24 as the buzzer sounded.

Pitt would come out stronger at the start of the final period, beginning the second half with a 17-6 run, as a Jones three-point shot and an Artis layup gave the Panthers a 42-31 lead, the largest lead by either team in the game.

Still, the Bonnies would not go away, as they would follow up Pitt’s run with a 16-2 run of their own– featuring seven points by junior guard Marcus Posley during that span– and it was St. Bonaventure who held the late 47-44 lead at the Petersen Events Center.

But after a Joseph Uchebo offensive rebound following a missed long distance shot by Jones, sophomore guard Josh Newkirk converted on a three-point attempt from the right corner, knotting the contest up at 47 points apiece with 4:01 remaining in the game.

Pitt was able to force a turnover on the Bonnies’ next possession, and followed that up with a slam-dunk by Mike Young to give Pitt a 49-47 lead.

St. Bonaventure was able to hang in the game thanks in large part to a pair of ill-timed fouls by Newkirk.

The first was a reach-in foul with Pitt up 54-50 with 27 seconds remaining in the game that sent Jaylen Adams to the free throw line for the double-bonus. Adams would convert both free throws.

The second foul, which was Newkirk’s disqualifying fifth foul of the game, came with on a three-point attempt by Adams with the Panthers leading by three with five seconds remaining.

However, Adams was only able to convert on two of the three free throws, and Pitt was able to hold on for the closely contested win.

The Panthers were led offensively by Young and Artis, who each totaled 14 points on the afternoon. Young also tallied 17 rebounds, recording his second double-double of the season, while Artis had four blocks and four boards.

Pitt will be back in action on Wednesday night, as the team will return to the Petersen Events Center to take on the Manhattan Jaspers at 7 PM.

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