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Pitt makes 11 3-pointers in win over Morehead State

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Mike Young scored 20 points, Jamel Artis had 17 and Cameron Johnson 16 as Pitt limped to a 76-63 win over Morehead State on Friday night at the Petersen Events Center.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, one would have to just give thanks for another Pitt win.

While it wasn’t their best second half performance, the Panthers (5-1) escaped from Morehead State in a 76-63 win Friday night at Petersen Events Center.

The Panthers shot a solid 25 of 51 (49%) from the field, while racking up 19 assists and connecting on 11 of 19 from beyond-the-arc.

Michael Young led all scorers with 20 points, going 8 of 14 from the field, while also posting six rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes.

Hanging a 42-26 advantage in the first half, Pitt used those 20 minutes to really distance itself from their Ohio Valley-foe, going a ridiculous 9 of 12 from 3-point, including 3 from Jonathan Milligan, who ended up finishing with 9 points.

“I thought we did some really good things in the first half, especially shooting the ball, sharing the ball and getting open shots,” said coach Kevin Stallings.  “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen 100 percent of the baskets being assisted as they were in the first half.”

Fifteen assists on 15 shots was the stat Stallings referred to, and it served as the indicative moment for a Panthers squad that continues to move the ball offensively as the season continues.

“We knew were the openings would be against that kind of defense,” said Cam Johnson about Morehead State’s continuous switching zone/man defense.  “We are moving the ball better and finding the open guy, and we just have to finish.”

Johnson finished the game with 16 points, going 4 of 7 from 3, while Jamel Artis connected on two 3’s, finishing with 17 points and five assists in 31 minutes.

“They shot 58 percent from three.  I mean the (Golden State) Warriors don’t do that, it’s unbelievable,” Morehead State interim head coach Preston Spradin said about the Panthers solid shooting.

For its great shooting success in the first half, the Panthers struggled in the later 20 minutes, allowing Morehead State to get within seven points with just under seven minutes left in the game after a 13-6 run sparked by DeJuan Marrero (18 points, 13 rebounds) helped raise a few hairs on Pitt’s sideline.

“We sort of had them on the ropes at halftime but we didn’t put them away in the second half,” said Stallings.  “We don’t show any killer instinct yet, I haven’t seen it.  We don’t get rid of people when we have the opportunity too.  I’m told that it is a long-standing habit and this group has historically been this way.”

The Panthers pulled away late from Morehead State thanks to a pair of Cam Johnson 3’s with just under four minutes left in the game, which kept Pitt in the win column for good.

Pitt outrebounded the Eagles 36-31, while holding them to just 23 of 61 (37.7%) from the field.

The Panthers will move on to face Maryland in College Park for the ACC/Big Ten challenge on Tuesday Nov. 29.  Game time is slated for 7 PM.

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