Nearly everything went right for the Pittsburgh Panthers tonight, particularly for Jamel Artis. The junior forward scored 18 points in the first half, just one shy of what the Cornell Big Red were able to score as a team.
On his hot start to the game, Artis said, "That's my mentality every game, to be aggressive...I just found gaps in the defense and took advantage."
Pitt started the game on a 16-2 run and never looked back. Cornell missed their first 12 shots of the game that weren't free throws; they didn't register a field goal until the 13:57 mark. On the defensive effort by his team, head coach Jamie Dixon said, "We got into them early and didn't allow them to get into a rhythm."
If Artis wasn't putting the ball in the basket in the first half, it was junior guard Chris Jones. Jones finished the half a perfect 4-4 from the field including two splashes from beyond the arc.
When asked how Jones felt about his role coming off the bench, "I don't think it's been that much different. I am just trying to come off (bench) and bring energy on the defensive end."
As a team, the Panthers shot 16-32 (50%) for the half and assisted on 12 of those makes. The Big Red were 7-33 (21.2%) from the field and had twice as many turnovers (8) as they did assists (4).
The second half was uneventful to say the least. It allowed Pitt show off their depth as it seemed all the starters were off the floor by the time that junior forward Michael Young scored his 10th point. Cornell played their starters long enough to build some confidence heading into their next game.
The Big Red are a young team, and after the game head coach Bill Courtney stated, "We're not ready to compete with teams like that yet."
Artis led all scorers with 21 points and added five rebounds and four assists. Jones was second on the team with 15 points, while registering a game-high two steals. Young finished with a game-high six assists to go along with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Panthers will be well rested with a lot of confidence going into their home game against the Kent State Golden Flashes (3-1) on Saturday.
Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author @Stephen_Gertz