ShareThis Page
Pitt

Pitt needs double overtime to defeat Eastern Michigan in Stallings' debut

| Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, 9:45 p.m.
Pitt's Michael Young scores around Eastern Michigan defenders in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Michael Young scores around Eastern Michigan defenders in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Michael Young grabs a lose ball away from Eastern Michigan's Tim Bond in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Michael Young grabs a lose ball away from Eastern Michigan's Tim Bond in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Sheldon Jeter is fouled by Eastern Michigan's Tim Bond in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Sheldon Jeter is fouled by Eastern Michigan's Tim Bond in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Cameron Johnson scores past Eastern Michigan defenders in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Cameron Johnson scores past Eastern Michigan defenders in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Justice Kithcart scores past Eastern Michigan's Baylee Steele in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Justice Kithcart scores past Eastern Michigan's Baylee Steele in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Justice Kithcart blows past Eastern Michigan's Lamar Wofford-Humphrey in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Justice Kithcart blows past Eastern Michigan's Lamar Wofford-Humphrey in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Michael Young dunks over Eastern Michigan's Baylee Steele in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Michael Young dunks over Eastern Michigan's Baylee Steele in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Jamel Artis is fouled by Eastern Michigan's Nobles Jordan (l) in overtime Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Jamel Artis is fouled by Eastern Michigan's Nobles Jordan (l) in overtime Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Jamel Artis pulls down a rebound in the second overtime against Eastern Michigan on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Jamel Artis pulls down a rebound in the second overtime against Eastern Michigan on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Cameron Johnson elevates to score over Eastern Michigan's Nick Madray in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Cameron Johnson elevates to score over Eastern Michigan's Nick Madray in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Jamel Artis blocks the shot of Eastern Michigan's Nick Madray in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Jamel Artis blocks the shot of Eastern Michigan's Nick Madray in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Jamel Artis passes after pulling down a rebound in the second overtime against Eastern Michigan's Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Jamel Artis passes after pulling down a rebound in the second overtime against Eastern Michigan's Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Eastern Michigan's Lamar Wofford-Humphrey dunks past Pitt's Chris Jones in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Eastern Michigan's Lamar Wofford-Humphrey dunks past Pitt's Chris Jones in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt coach Kevin Stallings on the bench against Eastern Michigan in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt coach Kevin Stallings on the bench against Eastern Michigan in the second half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Eastern Michigan's Ray Lee makes a 3-pointer over Chris Jones in the first overtime Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Eastern Michigan's Ray Lee makes a 3-pointer over Chris Jones in the first overtime Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt's Chris Jones dunks over Eastern Michigan's Tim Bond in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Chris Jones dunks over Eastern Michigan's Tim Bond in the first half Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at Petersen Events Center.

Kevin Stallings' first game as Pitt's basketball coach caused more anxiety than he would have preferred, but he gladly accepted the outcome.

After the Panthers sweated out a 93-90 season-opening win in double-overtime over Eastern Michigan at Petersen Events Center, Stallings, who spent the past 17 seasons coaching Vanderbilt, coined an old expression from his golfing days.

“It's not an art contest,” he said. “It's a math contest, and we added up more than they did. We would have felt a (heck) of a lot different in here if that score was reversed.”

The 2K Classic game benefiting the Wounded Warriors Project drew a crowd of 6,411 that included former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, an Eastern Michigan alumnus, as Pitt let a 12-point lead slip away in the second half but survived mainly because of guard Jamel Artis and forward Michael Young, who finished with 27 and 26 points, respectively.

No need to be a math whiz. That's a lot of offense. Young also grabbed 10 rebounds, and Artis had nine.

“Their best two players continued to come up with key rebounds and key shots,” Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy said.

Artis scored all but six of his points after halftime. Young had 15 points in the second half and overtime.

But Eastern Michigan stayed with the Panthers and surpassed them, twice taking a three-point lead in the first overtime. The Eagles answered with a dynamic duo of their own: guards Ray Lee (27 points) and Tim Bond (21), who often had clear paths to the basket.

“We knew they were talented off the dribble,” Stallings said. “We were a little more concerned about the big guy inside (6-foot-10 James Thompson IV), but as it turns out, he didn't really hurt us. It was the guards that hurt us.”

Artis said he and his teammates sometimes get so aggressive “we sometimes let guys drive.”

Opening against a mid-major team from the Mid-American Conference, especially one with experience and talent, is more challenging than many might believe, Stallings said.

“These games are hard,” he said “I call them out-of-body experiences.”

Stallings was not overjoyed to open the season against a team that plays a 2-3 zone for all 40 minutes (or in this case, 50 minutes). Although he said the Panthers “attacked their zone very well,” there were times his uneasiness could be fathomed. Fighting off collapsing defenders, Young committed seven turnovers. Forced to shoot over the zone, the Panthers made eight of 33 3-point attempts.

“Once I got it going, I would expect a team to try to double (team), try to reach,” Young said of the turnovers. “I got to handle the ball better, be strong with the ball, be more decisive with my decisions.”

The Panthers partly offset their errant 3-point shooting by making 35 of 45 free throw attempts. Eastern Michigan was 19 of 23. The only comment Murphy made on the officiating was observing that several “clean strips” of the ball were called fouls.

Artis, who was starting his first game at the point after switching from forward, made half of the team's threes (in 12 attempts). He shot 6 for 16 overall from the field, but he also took 12 foul shots, making 11. He had three assists and zero turnovers.

“It's the first game of the season,” Artis said. “I was very excited.”

“Jamel is a terrific zone offensive player,” Stallings said. “Terrific. And I knew that coming in, and that's his reputation and it's a fact. We tried to build a lot of what did around him and around Mike.”

The Panthers took a page from the Eagles' playbook during overtime, switching from their man-to-man to a zone. And it worked. Stallings kind of liked the irony.

“Finally, we went to a zone,” he said, “and of all things, they didn't like the zone very much.”

Bob Cohn is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bcohn@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BCohn_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me