Pitt @ Maryland
College Park, Md – Senior duo Michael Young (6’9 235) and Baltimore native Jamel Artis (6’7 215) combine for 47 points to beat Maryland on its home floor 73-59. Pittsburgh jumped out to a solid start and used a 25-4 run to lead at the break 46-25. Pittsburgh came into the game 5-1 and the Terps 7-0.
In the first half it was the Jamel Artis show. The do it all shooting guard showed his versatility scoring and even running the offense from time to time. Artis used his size to exploit smaller defenders and also drove the lane at will to finish at the rim. Artis had 15 points in the first half. Being a 6’7 guard, Artis can play multiple positions on both ends of the floor. He can basically play 1-4 on offense and guard 1-4 on defense if needed. Artis was most effective when driving the lane and taking on his defenders head on. Jamel showed an ability to keep the defense honest by knocking down a couple of three’s. This really allowed him to blow by any defenders that were off balance. Artis finished with 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The second half was dominated by Michael Young. Young showed the offensive skillset of an NBA forward. Young is shooting 47% from three and 86% from the foul line so far this season. The ability to keep his defender off balance by shooting from the perimeter and putting the ball on the floor is what makes Young so valuable. When he drives the lane he absorbs a lot of contact and uses his strength to power through defenders. He went to the foul line ten times converting nine. Michael also has the ability to post up and score on plays in the paint or on fade away jumpers. He was an absolute force for the Panthers on the offensive side all night. Young finished with 25 points, 2-4 from three, 9-10 from the free throw line and nine rebounds.
Young and Artis both displayed why Pitt will be a tough out in the ACC and a strong NCAA tournament competitor. Both players generated some interest from the NBA after tonight’s performance.
For Maryland the game was not so pretty. They struggled shooting the ball all night. They finished at 34% from the field and only 27% from three (10-36). Yes Maryland shot 36 three pointers. That number is eye popping. Maybe they should have switched it up some and tried to attack the basket more, but a lot of these three pointers were wide open or in rhythm looks. Maryland will need to figure out their shooting ways if the want to be a BIG10 contender this season.
Leading the way for Maryland was Melo Trimble (6’3 185). Trimble coming off two solid games in the Barclay’s Center Classic struggled to get going in this game. Trimble did not have as many lanes to drive to the basket as usual against Pitt’s zone defense. This forced him to fire away from three where his shot has been inconsistent since his freshman season. Trimble went 2-8 from three in the game. Trimble led the Terps with 13 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Michal Cekovsky (7’1 250) has been playing well since starting the season late from an injury. In his first four games he is averaging 10 points, four rebounds, one block, while shooting 69% from the field. Tonight Cekovsky may have been the only bright spot. He continued to make his presence felt down low scoring on close range shots or put backs. Cekovsky was also a factor protecting the paint finishing with two blocks. This is exactly the type of play Maryland will need from its big man to be able to withstand the struggles of BIG10 conference play. Cekovsky scored ten points, had three rebounds, two blocks, went 4-4 from the field in only 20 minutes of play. His playing time will continue to increase as he is eased back into the lineup after returning from injury.
Things will not get easier for the Terps as they face Oklahoma State at home on Saturday night. A team that just beat Georgetown 97-70. Maryland came from behind to beat Georgetown by one 76-75 a couple of weeks ago.
For Pitt they face Duquesne at home on Friday.