Michael Young Powers Pitt Basketball To 63-56 Win Over Samford


Pitt blew out Niagara 78-45 to open the season, whereas Samford was demolished 80-40 by Purdue.

Therefore, Pitt should have destroyed Samford, right?

College basketball doesn’t necessarily work like that, as Samford responded with a hard fought battle against the Pitt Panthers on Sunday afternoon.

This was the first time these two programs faced off against one another.

A pair of key free throws by sophomore guard Jamel Artis sealed a 63-56 Pitt victory for Jamie Dixon’s Panthers.

For the Panthers (2-0), sophomore forward Michael Young scored a career-high 20 points on 10 of 13 shooting, and Artis recorded 12 points.  Another sophomore, transfer forward Sheldon Jeter came off the bench and chipped in eight points, five rebounds, and two key blocks.

For the Bulldogs (0-2), senior forward Tyler Hood scored 21 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the three point line, and senior center, UConn transfer, Michael Bradley scored 10 points and eight rebounds.

Pitt started the game out sluggish, and once the Panthers pulled ahead, the Samford Bulldogs found a way to stick around and avoid being blown out.  Essentially, the Bulldogs drained multiple three pointers and rebounded the ball very well, in an attempt to pull off a huge upset.

Pitt went into the half with a 31-23 advantage after Artis buried a three pointer with 10 seconds left on the clock.

With under 8 minutes remaining in the game, sophomore guard Chris Jones drained two free throws to extend the Pitt lead to 11 (49-38).  The Panthers could not blow out Samford like Purdue did, as Hood buried numerous three pointers from the corner.

Some takeaways from this game are that the young sophomores are stepping up for Pitt, as Michael Young, Artis, and Jeter all made substantive contributions to the Pitt victory.  Young was determined inside, and the Bulldogs could not stop him.

Recall that junior guard Durand Johnson is suspended for the year, and senior guard Cameron Wright is still out with a foot injury.  This Panthers team is very young, as center Derrick Randall is the only senior currently playing.

Pitt was able to easily break the Samford press, scoring 24 fast-break points compared to 0 by Samford.  In a game this close, you would expect Pitt to have made numerous turnovers, but that was not the case.

The game remained close due to Samford’s ability to hit three pointers (8 for 23), as well as rebound the ball.  Surprisingly, Pitt was outrebounded 33-31, and I expect Jamie Dixon to address that deficiency.

As per usual, the Panthers had 20 assists, whereas Samford only had 9.  Pitt shot 51,1% from the field compared to 32.2% by Samford.

Pitt’s next game will be Friday at Hawaii, in a nonconference game prior to the start of the Maui Invitational.