The Pitt News

Late run pushes Pitt past Syracuse for first ACC win, 72-61

Jamel+Artis+battles+his+Duquesne+blocker%2C+TySean+Powell.++Wenhao+Wu+%7C+Staff+Photographer
Jamel Artis battles his Duquesne blocker, TySean Powell.  Wenhao Wu | Staff Photographer

Jamel Artis battles his Duquesne blocker, TySean Powell. Wenhao Wu | Staff Photographer

Jamel Artis battles his Duquesne blocker, TySean Powell. Wenhao Wu | Staff Photographer

By Chris Puzia / Assistant Sports Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The Pitt men’s basketball team will enter the new year with some momentum, with its first ACC win already in the books.

The Panthers (11-1, 1-0 ACC) used a late surge to pull past Syracuse in the Petersen Events Center Wednesday night.

Early on, Pitt struggled to find open looks and push the ball inside, taking seven 3-point shots in the first five minutes of the game. Syracuse used some extra passes and post play to establish itself. Center DeJaun Coleman grabbed a couple early rebounds to kick back out, facing off against Pitt’s Rafael Maia. Still, Coleman finished with only two points, fouling out late in the game.

The teams exchanged baskets for most of the first half. The Orange never led in the first half, but entered intermission tied behind a 10-4 run.

Syracuse shot 33 percent from long range in the first half behind Trevor Cooney’s nine points.

The Orange came out strong to open the second half, starting on a 7-2 run, sparked by Tyler Roberson. Roberson continually cut and dashed to the basket, finishing with a team-high 15 points.

Pitt used a major rebounding edge to keep its narrow lead and lengthen possessions. The Panthers outrebounded the Orange 43-25, and beat the visitors in second chance points 22-2.

Pitt forward Jamel Artis said getting the ball into the middle of the zone helped open up shots.

“When you create shots for yourself, people become open,” Artis said. “When you get the ball in the middle, you’re going to get open shots.”

For Pitt, Artis kept the home squad in the game early, and led them on a go-ahead run late. Artis posted a near- triple-double, ending with 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, all team highs for the night.

Syracuse’s zone defense typically causes opponents to rely on the 3-point shot, but Pitt struggled from that range. The team shot only 26 percent from deep, and guard Chris Jones was the only Panther to hit multiple threes.

Syracuse’s largest lead was eight points with 14 minutes left in the game. But Pitt forward Michael Young scored five straight points to bring the Panthers back within striking distance. With three minutes in the game, Pitt used a 10-0 run to build a lead it would not relinquish.

Syracuse head coach Mike Hopkins said that late run hurt his team’s momentum to attempt to get back in the game.

“Those last couple minutes, Pitt made it hard for us to score,” Hopkins said. “In the last five minutes, they gave it to us.”

Junior forward Sheldon Jeter led the charge, posting a couple big dunks and foul shots to give Pitt both the momentum and the lead. Jeter finished with 11 points, seven of which came in the second half.

“I look at him as one of our four guys,” Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. “When he comes in, we run plays for him.”

Late in the game, Syracuse could not hit the key shots it needed to shorten the disparity, and the Panthers held on in the back-and-forth game for its first ACC win of the year.

“I guess I just like zones or something,” Jeter said. “I find the right spots on the floor, that’s it.”

Pitt next hosts Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday at 4 p.m. before continuing its ACC slate with another home game against Georgia Tech on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

Leave a comment.

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper
Late run pushes Pitt past Syracuse for first ACC win, 72-61