Blowout wins have been few and far between for Pitt so far this year, but they had one on Wednesday with a comfortable 94-75 victory against Omaha.
Michael Young led the way with another great game with 24 points and Jamel Artis added 19. Those guys could have done even more damage had Pitt not pulled its starters early. Cameron Johnson, an emerging star of sorts for Pitt, had another strong game with 16. Also fresh off a 20-point game, Ryan Luther had 11 points to lead all bench reserves.
Things got off to a slow start as the Panthers had ten first-half turnovers (though they did fix that with only four in the second half). Despite shooting over 60% from the field, Omaha kept things relatively close partially because of that. But a big turning point for me was what happened at the end of the first half. Pitt was mired in a back and forth struggle, and while Young and Artis both did their fair share scoring with 24 first-half points, they also had seven of the team's ten turnovers.
I try to not be too critical of those guys because they're being asked to do so much. And handling the ball as much as they do, they're bound to have a good amount of turnovers. But as has been the case before this year, there were some lazy passes and downright careless turnovers. Coach Kevin Stallings pulled both of those guys and went with Ryan Luther, Cameron Johnson, Sheldon Jeter, Justice Kithcart, and Chris Jones.
The result? A 9-0 run before Pitt brought Young back in to replace Jeter, who had picked up a second foul.
No, I'm not saying that gives you hope for next year. But that group played with a lot more intensity and looked pretty good doing it. Also noteworthy was how Young reacted when he was inserted back into the game. He scored the last five points of the half and grabbed a board all in the last 45 seconds.
Pitt can't afford to too long without Young and Artis in there but I also think when they're being careless with the ball, you have to sit them at times. They have to realize that every possession is valuable and the team as a whole needs to do a better job of taking care of the ball.
The Panthers also did a couple of other things really well on Wednesday. They were 10-21 from long distance and had an 11-rebound edge on the glass.
One more non-conference game against Marshall and then we get a chance to see what these guys are really made of.