Pitt steals victory in the Carrier Dome
By: Andrew Ziemba
Though the score may not show it, this game was very much in the hands of the Pitt Panthers.
There were times when it seemed like they were going to let the Syracuse Orange back into contention, but fairly solid play from Chris Jones and Jamel Artis was enough to push the Panthers over the top, coming away with the 65-61 victory on the road.
This is the first time since 2005 that the Panthers have swept their series with the Orange, back when both teams were still members of the Big East Conference. The Carrier Dome is by no means an easy place to come in and win either, which gives a lot more credit to this Pitt win, regardless of the talent or off-the-court issues of their opponent this season.
As previously mentioned, the solid offensive play of Chris Jones, who said postgame that he felt “pretty comfortable” on the Carrier Dome floor, really carried the Panthers. Jones did not start the game, but made seven of 10 shots, including five of six from beyond the arc, good for 19 points on the day.
Sophomores Jamel Artis and Michael Young had 16 and 14 points, respectively, to help hold off the scrappy Syracuse squad.
Orange senior Rakeem Christmas was the lone, truly bright, offensive star for his team, recording his tenth double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds. The Orange don’t have much to play for other than their senior captain’s final games, so it’s sad to see him carrying the team virtually on his own.
With this win, Pitt moves to 18-10 (7-7 ACC), with a relatively easy stretch of games coming up to finish off the year. If they can manage to continue improving and playing good offensive basketball, they should be poised to make a run come March.