Pitt moves to 2-0 on the young season with a 63-56 win over Samford University. The game was much closer than expected, as Pitt was a 30 point favorite going into this one. The Panthers rode the back of Michael Young's 20 point performance. The sophomore forward shot 10-13 from the field and also added 5 rebounds. Jamel Artis was the other Panther in double figures, as he went for 12 points and 5 rebounds, including 2-2 behind the three-point arc.
Samford did not shoot exceptionally well, but they made 8 three-pointers and they all seemed to come at opportune times. Pitt seemingly could not shake the team from the Southern Conference, but kept a two score cushion for the most part until the Bulldogs cut it to three with under a minute remaining. Pitt was eventually able to ice the game at the free throw line.
Other notable performances for Pitt included James Robinson's 8 points and 8 assists, including 4-4 from the free-throw line. Josh Newkirk posted 5 points and 7 assists, but he did commit 3 turnovers. Sheldon Jeter quietly had a nice game with 8 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Joe Uchebo and Derrick Randall provided very little from the five spot, and it often led to Pitt playing with three forwards. After a big game in the opener, Cameron Johnson was held scoreless and seemed hesitant to shoot after air-balling a three point shot.
Pitt seemed to struggle with the press by Samford, and that has been a long standing issue for this program. Pitt does not handle pressure well, and more importantly, they don't seem to attack it well. In result of that, Pitt turned the ball over quite a bit in this one, and Samford used those extra chances to keep it close.
Overall, it was a lackluster performance from Pitt. They were out-rebounded by a less than average Samford team, and the defense allowed far too many three pointers. There were some bright spots from the Panthers like Young and Artis, but overall they looked like they were disinterested for the most part and it showed. They may have overlooked Samford, and the light crowd on a Sunday afternoon probably did not help matters. I think this is a game you chalk up as a win, and forget about it. Pitt will take on Hawaii next, before three games in the Maui Invitational.