Sheldon Jeter Provides A Huge Lift As Pitt Knocks Off Syracuse 83-77 To Improve To 16-8



Feb 7, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers forward Sheldon Jeter (21) and Syracuse Orange guard Trevor Cooney (10) chase a loose ball during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. Pittsburgh won 83-77. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt aimed at strengthening its NCAA Tournament resume with a win against the visiting Syracuse Orange this afternoon.

This week, Syracuse announced a self-imposed tournament ban from the ACC and NCAA Tournament, and the Orange were looking to further damage Pitt’s record.

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Pitt had other plans in the midst of hosting a “BlackOut,” in which all students, fans, and players wore black.  This was the first time Pitt wore all black uniforms.

The Panthers rallied against Syracuse and received a spark off the bench from local sophomore forward/guard Sheldon Jeter to score a career-high 18 points and “black out” the Orange 83-77.

For Pitt (16-8, 5-5 ACC), sophomore forward Jamel Artis continues to turn into a scoring machine, recording his first career double-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists.  Jeter added 18 points off the bench, and sophomore guard Chris Jones also provided 15 points and some key three-pointers off the bench.

The young Panthers showed great composure and unselfishness working through the Syracuse 2-3 zone.  Sophomore forward Michael Young added 13 points and 11 rebounds, and junior guard James Robinson scored 13 points and knocked down 3 three-pointers.

Clearly, we are seeing improvement in this Pitt team on a game-by-game basis.

For Syracuse (15-8, 6-4 ACC), senior center Rakeem Christmas scored 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks, and junior forward Michael Gbinije scored 23 points with 50% shooting from the three-point line.

Syracuse only used seven players, and every starter but one had four personal fouls.  The Orange shot 50%, whereas Pitt matched them, shooting 48%.

For Pitt, senior guard Cameron Wright started the game but only played four minutes, leaving with a left ankle injury.

Syracuse jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead four minutes into the game.  A Gbinije three-pointer made it 20-13 midway through the first half, as Pitt did not look great defensively or offensively to start.

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  • Pitt clawed its way back, but every time the Panthers cut it to 5 points or less, the Orange answered back with a key bucket.

    Jones and Young made back-to-back baskets to tie the game at 40-38, but a Roberson dunk gave Syracuse a 40-38 advantage at the half.

    Being in the crowd, I felt as if the second half was a heavyweight title bout, as both teams continued to punch each other in the mouth, reminiscent of old school Big East hoops.

    A Jeter free throw gave Pitt its first lead at 51-50 seven minutes into the half.

    Jeter emerged in the second half, making several key shots down the stretch, as he gave Pitt a 77-73 lead with under two minutes to go.

    After two Christmas free throws, Artis buried a three-pointer to give Pitt a 80-75 lead with under one minute remaining.

    Gbinije made a lay-up, but then Jeter came up big with a countering lay-up to put the dagger into Syracuse.  Pitt ended the game on a key 10-4 run.

    The Panthers had 22 assists on 29 baskets and shot nearly 60% in the second half comeback.

    I’m seeing much improvement in many of the young sophomores, and this is a positive sign for a team that had been struggling a few weeks ago.  Artis and Jones are clearly the best two shooters at this point, but Jeter may be the most athletic player on the team,  Young continues to battle at the center position, and despite being undersized, he is playing tough.


    Pitt will travel to No. 9 Louisville Wednesday night, looking for revenge.  Hopefully the Panthers can notch another key victory in their NCAA resume.

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