clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pitt has little trouble with Gardner-Webb in 67-50 win

NCAA Basketball: Gardner-Webb at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pitt men’s basketball team returned to action on Saturday and recorded an easy 67-50 win over Gardner-Webb.

We’ve seen Pitt (4-1) get off to slow starts offensively so it was nice to see an opponent do that for a change. Gardner-Webb (0-2) started off 0-18 from the field before scoring their first points on a three-pointer with 7:43 left in the first half. They would get hotter as the half went on but by that point, they trailed 14-0. That set them into a big hole they could never quite get out of and gave Pitt a 27-18 lead at the half. Fortunately, the Panthers continued to wear them down and scored the 17-point win.

The Panthers were fortunate in that regard because Pitt did not shoot well to that point, either, connecting on only 33% of their shots. While a nine-point lead was nice, that slow start by Gardner-Webb should have realistically put Pitt up by a bit more.

The star of the game was again Justin Champagnie who continues to emerge as the Panthers’ top player. Champagnie recorded another improbable 20-20 game with 24 points and 21 rebounds, adding five assists, two blocks, and a steal for good measure. Xavier Johnson was the only other Pitt player in double figures with 12 points. Abdoul Karim Coulibaly quietly had an impressive game with six points, nine rebounds, and an assist.

Is Champagnie a dominant player? I’m not sure I’m quite ready to go there and I want to see what he does once the competition gets tougher. But he’s clearly looking like the best player on the team and it’s hard to believe he’s only a sophomore. What he’s done these last two games has been nothing short of incredible.

The win was good to see because the Panthers, frankly, did not play all that well beyond the players mentioned. As a team, they shot only 23-64 (36%), including an unreal 1-18 clip from three-point range. To do that and still win by 17 gives you a pretty good indicator of how poorly Gardner-Webb shot (finishing just under 30% from the field).

For Pitt, playtime is over. This was the last non-conference game of the year and it’s only ACC games from here on out. The Panthers open up conference play on Wednesday in a 6:00 p.m. game against Miami on the road.

Good win today but now we will get a chance to see what kind of team Pitt has this year.

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 and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.