After a mostly dismal ACC season, Pitt's basketball team put together solid efforts in losses against ranked North Carolina and Duke teams on the road. The idea was that if they brought that same effort tonight, they would win.
That mostly happened and the Panthers pulled away for an 83-72 win on the road at Boston College.
No, the Eagles aren't a good team. No, I don't think the defense was particularly good. And no, this doesn't mean that Kevin Stallings will starting gaining more fans. But it does at least keep this nightmare of a season from getting much worse.
Pitt also overcame a good shooting night from Boston College. The Eagles made more than 50% of their shots but were topped by the Panthers slightly. One big factor was the free throw line. Pitt knocked down 24-29 from the stripe while Boston College was only 8-14. Shooting more than twice as many free throws is a good way to get on track and when you make 16 more, that's just a huge disparity.
Things started off pretty badly for Pitt. In the opening minute, star Jamel Artis, injured his ankle, stepping on the foot of a Boston College player. He returned, but barely played in the first half and on the night, finished with only six points. Fortunately some other guys picked up the slack. Michael Young had 30 points and Shelding Jeter and Chris Jones were surprisingly productive with 31. Jeter had a team-high eight boards and I was really impressed with what Jones did. Justice Kithcart shouldn't be forgotten, either. He was rushed into duty when Artis went down and responded by giving Pitt nine big points, going 3-3 from the three-point line in his only shot attempts.
That Artis came back and played was encouraging. Hopefully there aren't any lingering effects that drag on.
Kithcart hasn't given Pitt too much this year but I'm curious to how he responds by not only playing more but finding himself in a role where he has to produce. The extent of his job right now is to not turn the ball over and perhaps hit a shot or two if he's open. And the fact that he's a true freshman shouldn't be forgotten, either. Maybe, just maybe, he becomes more of an offensive threat in a bigger role.
Like I said, I don't know how much this game proves. But at the very least, it serves as a bit of a confidence boost to a team that sorely needed one.