Not long ago, it felt like the Panthers were on the wrong end of these beatings. Though, on Saturday, the Panthers picked up a 35-point win. Pittsburgh beat the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks 78-43.
In what started out as a slow game for Pitt’s offense, that light quickly turned on. It led to every player who checked in (outside of the walk-on’s) scoring. Leading those scorers, however, was freshman Xavier Johnson.
Johnson is quickly becoming the story of the Panthers team early on in the young season. His 12 points gave him double-digits in 11 straight games. He has played 11 games meaning he has double-digits in every collegiate game he has played. He also added three assists and a rebound.
Senior Jared Wilson-Frame notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. He grabbed nine of those rebounds in the first half.
In the first game following big man Peace Ilegomah’s departure, the Panthers turned to Terrell Brown to lead the way down low. After posting a scoreless effort in Morgantown last weekend, Brown had himself a big game.
He scored 10 points while grabbing four boards. He made his presence known with two blocks.
Without Ilegomah, the Panthers used Shamiel Stevenson throughout the game to spell Brown and Kene Chukwuka. Stevenson added a few buckets late and finished with six points. He played eleven minutes Saturday after playing only 21 minutes in the first 10 games.
While Maryland-Eastern Shore didn’t show much on offense, they had two guys leading the way.
A.J. Cheeseman and Tyler Jones both dropped 16 points. They had 32 of the Hawks’ 43 points.
The Hawks’ best player, Robert Andino, couldn’t get going today. He shot only 2-of-10 from the field. He missed both of his free throw attempts as well.
- Malik Ellison’s shooting game needs some work. Ellison is not a crisp shooter by any means. He isn’t a good shooter from beyond the arc. He further proved his shooting woes by going 2-of-9 from the free throw line. When he drives the lane and attacks the basket, he is very effective. He is a good passer as well. He will have to up his shooting game a bit before ACC-play.
- Stevenson figures to see more playing time going forward. Stevenson is left over from last season’s disaster team. He is a good enough player that it was surprising to not see him in the lineup more. He isn’t the tallest guy but the Panthers don’t have a lot of size. They could’ve used his bigger body down in the post. His six points in eleven minutes were a good start for him as he looks to earn more minutes following Ilegomah’s departure.
- The speed of the guards play a big factor. There might not be a guard in the ACC as up-tempo as Johnson. He plays full speed ahead for every minute he is in the game. Johnson, along with the myriad of other quick guards Pitt has, creates a problem for opposing teams. Hawks coach Clifford Reed said that Pitt’s quick guards help deny baskets for their opponents. Of course, Maryland-Eastern Shore is not Duke or Virginia. However, the Panthers speed won’t change as long as the young guards are on the court.
After the win over the Hawks, Pitt is off until Thursday when they take on New Orleans. The contest takes place at 7 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.
New Orleans (4-4) lost their most recent game against Tulsa, 70-60. The Privateers were led by guard Troy Green who had 19 points.
New Orleans hosts Williams Baptist on Tuesday as their final game before they travel to Pittsburgh.
PHOTO: Jared Wilson-Frame’s double-double made a big difference for the Panthers as they pulled out a big 78-43 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. Courtesy of @Pitt_MBB on Twitter.
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