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Pitt finishes off High Point behind Marcus Carr's 19 points

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Freshman point guard Marcus Carr hit all five of his shots, finishing with 19 points, as the Panthers topped their Big South Conference opponent at Petersen Events Center Tuesday night.

It wasn't pretty.  Luckily, winning on the hardwood doesn't always require style. 

Despite a dismal 22 turnovers, Pitt (4-3), with the help of the three-ball and free throws, managed to ward off a second-half charging High Point (2-4) squad in the 71-63 non-conference win.

As a team, Pitt connected on 19-of-22 free throws—hitting its last 16 in a row to close the game—while shooting a hot 8-of-19 from beyond the arc.

“We obviously shot our free throws great going down the stretch,” said coach Kevin Stallings.  “We didn’t take care of the ball.  We could have done a much better job on the boards.  I thought those were really the only two areas that were disappointing.  I was very surprised that we turned it over like that.”

High Point, who threw full court pressure at the Panthers throughout various points of the game, gathered 22 points off of turnovers, which sparked a rally that saw the underdog squad grab a 44-43 lead with 9:41 left in the game after a 10-1 run.

“We need to take better care of the ball.  That’s what needs to happen,” continued Stallings on the turnovers.  “We shot 45% from three and 86% from the line.  We’re doing some good things.  What happens is, you lose all of our momentum when you turn the ball over to them and they go down and make a layup.”

Carr, who scored a Pitt-high with the 19 points, also coughed up a team-high in turnovers with five for the freshman, who added in just two assists in 28 minutes.

“I feel like a lot of my turnovers sparked their offense in transition,” said Carr, who scored in double figures for the third time this season.  “Scoring is all and good, but I’d rather have a better defensive game.  I’d rather have zero turnovers and more assists than 19 points.”

Despite his troubles in ball care, Carr’s back-to-back three pointers late in the game, coupled with a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe, helped keep a High Point team that never allowed the lead to swell past 10 points in the second half.

“Marcus played a very good game,” said Stallings of his point guard.  “Does he need to take better care of the ball?  Sure, he does.  Especially as a point guard.  He did way more good things tonight than he did bad.”

Complimenting Carr’s offensive performance was Ryan Luther, who continued his consistent ways in lighting up the box score, finishing his night with 15 points with five assists and eight rebounds. 

“I just try and play my hardest,” said Luther, who cracked double-digit scoring in six contests this season.  “Every team is going to play hard, but I am just going to try and do my job, and get my guys going, and try and lead them.”

High Point, who was missing its leading scorer due to injury in Jahaad Proctor (18 PPG,) managed 67 shot attempts, finishing 37% from the floor, outscoring Pitt 30-22 in the paint and a dozen on the fast break.

“[We] made some shots tonight that I haven’t seen them make a lot of in previous games,” said High Point head coach Scott Cherry.  “We took the lead in the second half, but we had some empty possessions late in the game.  I’ll give them credit for making some timely shots.”

Andre Fox finished with a game-high 20 points, going 8-of-19 from the field.

“We have to be more consistent,” explained Luther on getting better as a team.  “We talked about how we can’t play good for five minutes and then play bad a few minutes later.  We built a lead within the first four minutes, and then at the end of the half we lost our drive and gave them life again.”

Pitt grabbed double-digit scoring from Jonathan Milligan (12,) and Jared Wilson-Frame (11.)  As a team, the Panthers shot 22-of-40 (55%) from the field.

Up next

The Panthers will face Duquesne in the City Game Friday night.  Tipoff from PPG Paints Arena is set for 7 PM.

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