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High-scoring Panthers end non-conference schedule with 112-106 win over Marshall

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Michael Young and Jamel Artis each scored 30 points, Sheldon Jeter posted a double-double and Pitt beat Marshall 112-106 in the Panthers final non-conference game of the season.

The ‘Guru of Go’ would be proud.

Sticking to a 40-minute sketching from the pencil tip of some kind of Paul Westhead offensive workshop, Pitt (11-2) closed out its non-conference slate with a flurry of baskets that led to a 112-106 victory over Marshall (7-6) Wednesday night at the Pete.

Tonight’s game marked the first time in Petersen Events Center history where both teams eclipsed 100 points, and just the fourth time for Pitt.

The Panthers shot 52.1% from the field while making a season-best 38 field goals, 10 of those coming from beyond the arc.  Michael Young and Jamel Artis led all scorers with 30 points a-piece, going a combined 18 of 33 from the field and 14 of 17 from the charity stripe.

Defense, which like an early 90s Loyola Marymount contest was pretty much nonexistent on both ends of the court with Marshall keeping pace with a solid 35 of 71 (49.3%) campaign from the field.

With Pitt up by as much as 29 points, the Thundering Herd used a 27-9 run to cut the lead to 10 with just over four minutes left in the game.  Marshall kept slicing from that point on, narrowing the lead down to five points with just 25 seconds left.

“When we got up they got more aggressive and we got impatient on offense.  Sometimes we have a tendency to take our foot off the gas pedal.  I think we leave a little bit to be desired on defense, but we are getting there.  We’re fixing it.”

Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni, brother of Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, explained the idea of Wednesday night’s high speed tempo.

“Golden State, do they work it in?  My brother in Houston, do they work it in?  the Coach said. “You get any computer it will tell you the post-up is the worst shot in basketball.  The best shot in basketball is that corner three.  The next best shot is any other three.”  The last NBA championships, Cleveland, Golden state, you just see them spread that thing out and go.”

The Thundering Herd grabbed 44 points from the bench, including a team-best 25 points from CJ Burks who helped get Marshall back to within five points with a spot up 3-pointer over Artis with just under two minutes left in the game.

“We usually find a way to try and make it interesting,” said Coach Kevin Stallings.  I thought our first 25 minutes were really good and were we needed to be.  That is a team that is very good on offense.  I was very uneasy about the game, but I don’t think it was like ‘oh, here we go again,’ I just think it is hard to play with such a big lead.”

“I know that if we don’t stay locked in for 40 minutes now, we all know what is next for us,” coach continued.

The Panthers also netted 44 points from the bench garnering rare minutes for guys like Justice Kithcart and Rozelle Nix, who punched in four points and five rebounds on five minutes of play.

In total nine Panthers played, with seven of them scoring at least one field goal.

“I thought for the most part that the guys that came in off the bench did a great job,” Stallings.  “I thought Justice was solid for us.  Sheldon (Jeter) was clearly the best he’s been all season long.  We got a lot of good minutes from a lot of different guys tonight.”’

Jeter finished the game with 21 points, while Cam Johnson rounded out the double figure scoring with 16 points on 6 of 11 from the field.

Kitchcart gets the Nod
With Chris Jones injured with a right foot injury, and unavailable for Wednesday night’s game, guard freshman Justice Kithcart got his very first start, finishing with a solid resume: 3 of 4 with six points, eight assists and just one turnover in 34 minutes.

“I feel like I’m a lot more confident,” Kithcart said.  “The game speed is definitely faster, but I feel like I’m coming along really well.”

As far as Jones’ injury Stallings commented, “he hasn’t played in a week.  Hopefully he’ll be better by Saturday.”

After the Spread
Pitt came in a 12.5 favorite, having it easily covered in the first half.  The final 20 minutes would make any Panthers fan trying to chase back their losses in the Pinstripe Bowl close to a vomiting spell.

The Over/Under at 171 was obliterated by the 218 total put up between both teams.

Next Up
The Panthers will open ACC play with No. 24 Notre Dame on New Year’s Eve Saturday.  Tipoff is set for 2 PM.

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