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Pitt rebounds with 84-61 win over BC

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Jamel Artis scored 22, Cameron Johnson added 20 and Mike Young had 13 points and 9 assists as Pitt overcame a 31-point game from Eli Carter to beat Boston College 84-61 at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday afternoon.

PITTSBURGH - The Panthers improved to 4-1 in the ACC after shooting 58 percent from the field and out-rebounding Boston College 34-17.

“I feel like I’m always ready to go in,” Johnson said about his career-high 20-point effort off the bench. “We were able to spread them out, a lot of penetrate and kick.”

Boston College entered the game in the midst of a difficult 7-9 season, with losses to the likes of UC Irvine, Santa Clara and UMass Lowell.

Both teams were coming off of horrific offensive performances. While Pitt’s struggles against the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals were well documented, BC had only 40 points against Syracuse in their last game.

However, offense was not at a premium for either team in the first half. The 43 points put up by the Panthers in the first half was already two more than they scored in the entire Louisville game.

“I was using the phrase, ‘I don’t recognize you guys’, and that tends to resonate,” Dixon said about the loss in Louisville on Thursday. “We wanted to play right after the game.”

Pitt could not stop guard Eli Carter, who scored 18 of BC’s 36 halftime points and assisted on four other made attempts in the first 20 minutes.

“He can shoot, I’m not going to take that away from him,” said Pitt freshman guard Damon Wilson. “As long as you win, that’s all that matters at the end of the day.”

Carter, a former Pitt target a few years ago after deciding to transfer from Rutgers during the Mike Rice player abuse scandal, originally spent a year at Florida before winding up with Boston College.

The Panthers have had trouble containing BC guards in recent years. Fans need not remember any further than last season, when Oliver Hanlan torched them for 39 points in a surprisingly close Pitt win.

As the game wore on, it was clear that Pitt was willing to let Carter get his own, as long as he couldn’t get his teammates involved. The graduate transfer finished with 31 points; he had 13 points but no assists in the second half.

“As the game wore on I thought a lot of our guys got tentative, which has been a problem for us,” Boston College coach Jim Christian said.

Despite the win, Pitt starting shooting guard Sterling Smith struggled for the second game in a row, hesitating when faced with open shots, and finished with just 2 points. The Coppin State transfer was held scoreless against Louisville.

Dixon seems to have more confidence in Wilson, and has started using him for prolonged minutes next to starting point guard James Robinson. Wilson played well against Louisville and his usage is rapidly trending upward as Pitt enters a crucial point in conference play.

“Me and James are starting to play with each other a little more,” Wilson said. “It’s just constant fast breaks, which is fun.”

Wilson and Johnson saw increased usage in this game because of a left elbow injury to Chris Jones, which he suffered during the Louisville game.

The Panthers look to improve to 5-1 in ACC play against NC State on Tuesday at the Pete.



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