Jamel Artis leads Pitt to 84-61 blowout win over Boston College

Jamel Artis scored a team-high 22 points and redshirt freshman Cameron Johnson added 20 points off the bench, as Pitt defeated Boston College to improve to 15-2.

Two days ago, Jamel Artis & No. 20 Pitt only managed to put up 41 points at Louisville.

It was important to see how Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers would respond with a home game against lowly Boston College.

The Eagles started the game strong with a 10-2 run in the first four minutes, but Pitt proved to be too powerful over the stretch of the contest.  Pitt countered with a 15-2 run to take a 17-12 lead and never looked back in an 84-61 thrashing of the Eagles.

For Pitt (15-2, 4-1 ACC), Artis led the team with 22 points on 8 of 12 shooting, including 4 of 6 three-pointers.  Artis is arguably a fascinating NBA prospect with size, the ability to score, and the ability to pass. 

Redshirt freshman Cameron Johnson scored a career-high 20 points on seven of 10 shooting and four of seven three-point attempts.  Johnson adds another scoring touch for the Panthers, who were completely shut down two days ago by Louisville.  I like what Johnson brings off the bench, and he can be a nice three-point weapon.

Boston College is the ACC bottom feeder in basketball, and the Panthers were favored by 19 going into today.  The Eagles have not beaten Pitt in Pittsburgh since 1994.  Last season, Pitt swept the series.

For the Eagles (7-10, 0-4 ACC), graduate transfer guard Eli Carter was the reason this game was not uglier than it already turned out to be.  He scored a career-high 31 points on 12 of 22 shooting, including five of 11 from the three-point line.  The rest of the Eagles just scored 30 points total on 11 of 26 shooting.

Carter drew the Eagles to an 11-point deficit with a three-pointer with ten minutes to go, but Pitt continued to surge forward with layups and three-pointers to win by 23.

7-foot-1 senior center Dennis Clifford added 12 points and six rebounds, and he was also posterized in the second half on a dunk by junior forward Michael Young, who finished with 13 points, five rebounds, and nine assists for Pitt.

Boston College head coach Jim Christian indicated that they didn’t have a matchup to guard Michael Young.  Jamie Dixon mentioned that Pitt’s attitude, focus, and commitment never wavered after the loss to Louisville.

The Panthers shot 58% this afternoon, after shooting a season-low 27% a few days ago.  The Eagles length and defensive pressure was nowhere close to the intensity of Louisville.  Furthermore, Pitt made 10 of 19 three-point attempts, after only making 1 of 11 the previous game.

Pitt outrebounded its opponent 34-17 and had 23 assists on 33 made field goals, which is a signature mark of Dixon’s teams

The ACC schedule is a pretty treacherous row, but it was favorable today for the Panthers, who will look to avoid multiple game losing streaks this season.  Those cannot be afforded in a conference like this.

Carter was impressive for the Eagles, but Pitt did not guard him very closely in the first half, where he scored 18 of his 31.  They made an adjustment in the second half, but he still knocked down some tough shots.

If there was one problem for Pitt today, it was the turnovers.  A few days ago, they committed 19 turnovers, and today they committed 17, with several careless, lazy passes.  This needs to be corrected if Pitt wants to contend for an ACC title.  Young committed five turnovers, while Artis added three, and senior point guard James Robinson had 2 assists to 2 turnovers.

Pitt now has 15 wins, and they are only four wins shy of their win total from last season.  Coach Dixon has used the acquisition of graduate transfers to fill voids at the center and shooting guard position, and the rest of the squad (a large junior core) continues to improve and grow one game at a time.

BOX SCORE

Pitt will host NC State on Tuesday night.  The Wolfpack have surprisingly began the season 0-5 in the ACC, and former Pitt commit Maverick Rowan will square off against the Panthers for the first time.