What more can we say about Jamel Artis? I mean seriously, it's getting hard to describe just how much the sophomore is breaking out this season. It is very hard to imagine exactly where this team would be without him playing the way he has the past few weeks. Thanks to his efforts, Artis is our Panther of the Week for the third week in a row. That's starting to get into Lamar Patterson territory from last season and now Artis has the Panthers being mentioned where many thought they didn't belong: The NCAA Tournament.
The forward from Baltimore, MD started the week out being one of the few Panthers to actually show up and put forth an effort against Bryant on Monday. His 32 points helped eek out a victory where Pitt fans once again saw a less than excited passion by the rest of the team. Jamel also decided to kick in six rebounds, two assists, three steals, and one block.
Then came the blackout yesterday. With the Oakland Zoo in crunch time form and the rest of the Panther faithful bringing their A game, Artis and company fed off of the energy of The Peterson Event Center to take home a very important 83-77 victory over the Orange. Due to the victory, Pitt now stands at 16-8 and 5-5 on the season. Artis led the way again with 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
I think you can look at the mid-point of the second half of the win against Syracuse to see the value of Artis. In a span of about three to four minutes, the sophomore made a jumper, assisted on layups to Michael Young and Sheldon Jeter and then finished that sequence off with another jumper. It began at around the 9:30 mark and the last jumper was hit with about six minutes left in the game. The clutch plays kept the Panthers neck and neck with the Orange and I didn't even have to mention the dagger Artis nailed from beyond the arc with a minute left to give Pitt a five point lead.
The three game streak Pitt is on has given their post-season hopes a boost and Artis is a big reason why. Cameron Wright went down early in the game against Syracuse, so they could be without the senior again for a game or two. The difference between the start of the year and now? Artis is the difference.