Pitt Misses Opportunity To Impress The NCAA Selection Committee, Falls To No. 2 Virginia 61-49


Feb 16, 2015; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers forward Jamel Artis (1) dribbles the ball around Virginia Cavaliers forward Anthony Gill (13) in the first half at John Paul Jones Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday afternoon, Pitt firmly planted itself into the NCAA Tournament Bubble with a blowout victory over No. 12 North Carolina.

The critics refer to Pitt’s abysmal road record of 1-6, claiming they lack a key road win.  Joe Lunardi’s latest bracketology has 6 ACC teams, but Pitt is not one of them.

Tonight, Pitt had a golden opportunity against the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville.

Virginia came into the game allowing the fewest points per game in the nation at 50.9 and ranking third in field goal defense (35.7%).  Pitt shot 65% against UNC two days ago, which was the highest percentage against the Tar Heels since 1985.

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The Panthers offense had been hot as of late, recording 30 assists against UNC, which was the highest in an ACC game since 2002.

Tonight, Pitt only scored 15 points in the first half, missed critical free throws, and turned the ball over 12 times in a frustrating 61-49 defeat to Virginia.

For Pitt (17-10, 6-7 ACC), sophomore forward Jamel Artis scored 20 points and 8 rebounds, and sophomore forward Sheldon Jeter scored 10 points and 6 rebounds in the defeat.

Senior guard Cameron Wright scored only 3 points and turned the ball over 3 times, while sophomore forward Michael Young was not a factor at the center position, held scoreless.  Junior point guard James Robinson only scored 2 points in the defeat.

For Virginia (24-1, 12-1 ACC), junior guard Malcolm Brogdon scored 18 points, junior forward Anthony Gill scored 12 points, and sophomore point guard London Perrantes added 10 points and 6 assists.

Virginia shot 43%, whereas Pitt shot 39%, and the Panthers were only 9 for 17 from the free-throw line.

In the first half, Pitt scored 4 early points from Jamel Artis and Cameron Wright, but the Cavaliers went on a 7-0 run as Pitt went on a 5-minute scoring drought.

Pitt went on another long drought of 7 minutes, falling into an 18-7 hole before Derrick Randall made a lay-up.

Virginia’s biggest lead of the half was 25-12 as Malcolm Brogdon knocked down a three-pointer.  Artis immediately responded with a three-pointer of his own to cut the lead to 25-15 going into the half.

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  • The 15 points by Pitt was their fewest in a half since 2009.  The Virginia defense bothered every player for Pitt, as they struggled moving the ball and finding open shots.

    Aside from the difficulty of figuring out the Virginia defense, Pitt gave up 8 offensive rebounds and only hauled in 1 offensive rebound in the first half.  Pitt was one-and-done on every miss, making this extremely frustrating to watch at times.

    In the second half, Pitt made it interesting, but could not make enough stops and shots down the stretch.

    Jeter scored a quick 7 points for Pitt and Artis drained a three-pointer to cut the Virginia lead to 30-25 with 16 minutes remaining.

    The score remained 32-25 for nearly 5 minutes, and Pitt cut the lead to 36-33 with 8 minutes remaining.

    Momentum appeared on Pitt’s side, but missed free throws and critical turnovers hurt Pitt, who was given several chances to get back into the game against Virginia.  A Shayok three-pointer made it 44-33, as Virginia went on an 8-0 run for an early dagger.

    Unlike Pitt, Virginia made its free throws down the stretch, as Pitt could not get any closer than 7 points.

    It was a frustrating game that Pitt really needed to win to impress the NCAA Selection Committee.  This must be what it feels like to have been the old Big East teams against the defensive Pitt teams of the past.

    For the Cavaliers, junior guard Justin Anderson missed his third game with a fractured finger.  They recently squeaked by NC State 51-47 and Wake Forest 61-60.


    Pitt will travel to Syracuse on Saturday, and Virginia will host Florida State on Sunday.

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