If you look at Pitt's last two losses, three-point shooting is the statistic that stands out. The Panthers are a woeful 3-32 in those contests and even shooting only a little better likely means the team wins both games.
But if you're looking for another reason Pitt has floundered in those contests against Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, look no further than the play of forward Jamel Artis.
Simply put, Artis has had a miserable stretch for the Panthers. Over those two games, he is only 3-17 from the field for a combined 11 points. Artis also isn't contributing on the boards where he had only four total rebounds in the pair of games (none against Georgia Tech). Artis has also been a part of the struggles in long-range shooting, missing all of his seven attempts.
The Pitt forward doesn't always struggle when the team loses. He had a decent 16-point, 7-rebound effort against North Carolina State. And in the ugly game against Virginia, he scored more than 1/3 of the team's 50 points, going for 17 on 7-11 shooting from the field.
But more times than not, when Pitt loses, Artis struggles. In the team's eight other losses, he has averaged only 7.8 points and 4.0 rebounds. Teams can live with lessened scoring if it doesn't come as a result of many shots, but Artis' shooting was woeful in those games - he made only 26% of his attempts. He's been absolutely woeful in the past five defeats, making only 21% of his shots.
Pitt is a relatively deep team, but they don't have the star power necessary to keep up with most good opponents if Young or Artis struggle. Guys like Sheldon Jeter are capable of doing more than usual on occasion, but overall, Pitt can't afford either of their two big guns to completely take nights off.
If Pitt is going to achieve much of anything this postseason, they'll need Artis to be more effective.
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