PITTSBURGH -- No. 20 Pittsburgh played its most disappointing game of the year in a loss at No. 21 Louisville Thursday. Despite the sting of defeat, head coach Jamie Dixon wanted to see how his team would handle the set-back.
Saturday, Boston College jumped out to an early eight-point lead but it was all Pitt from there. Jamel Artis scored 22 points and Cameron Johnson posted a career-high 20 points to lead No. 20 Pittsburgh to an 84-61 victory against Boston College Saturday.
“We just settled down and started playing how we usually play,” Pitt guard Damon Wilson said. “Louisville had us shaken up a little, but I think we settled down and started finding teammates and looking for people because that’s what we do. Then it was fun again.”
Michael Young added 13 points for Pitt (15-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) while James Robinson had 10. Suffice to say, the Panthers responded well in Dixon's eyes.
“The guys were ready to go,” Dixon said. “They were quiet the whole ride back and didn’t say a word, which is pretty much how you wanted them to handle it, and then once we got going in practice they were boisterous and getting after it.”
While watching Pitt’s 59-41 loss to Louisville, Boston College head coach Jim Christian suspected the Eagles wouldn’t play the same team that shot 28 percent. His suspicions were correct.
“It was unfortunate for us because as I was watching them I knew they’re not going to play that poorly again,” Christian said. “They came ready to play, and they were, and that’s why they’re a good basketball team.”
Eli Carter scored a career-high 31 points for Boston College (7-9, 0-3 ACC). Dennis Clifford chipped in 10 points for the Eagles.
“The first couple of shots felt good and it was a good warm up,” Carter said. “The guys got me the ball where I wanted it and set the screens and I knocked down some good shots.
Christian liked the way Carter attacked Pitt’s defense, but would’ve liked to see his teammates play in a similar manner.
“He was attacking the basket more than he usually does which we’ve been trying to get him to do. I thought he played very aggressively, we’ve just got to get some other guys to play aggressively too.”
Boston College hit four of its first six shots and opened the game on a 10-2 run to take an early lead. Carter and Garland Owens each made 3-pointers while Pitt shot 1 for 3 and turned the ball over twice in the game's opening minutes.”
Pitt responded to tie the game 12-12 as the Panthers held the Eagles scoreless for three minutes. A layup by Artis gave Pitt its first lead of the game eight minutes in and his 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run to put the Panthers up 17-12.
The Panthers never trailed again and extended their lead comfortably to double-digits in the second half.
Carter's fourth 3-pointer of the first half cut Pitt's lead to a point with two minutes left in the first period. The Panthers closed the half with an 8-2 spurt to take a 43-36 lead at halftime.
Pitt shot 61 percent in the first half to the Eagles' 48 percent clip, who were kept in the game by Carter's 18 first-half points.
Boston College cut Pitt's lead to five points out of the half. The Panthers extended their lead to double-digits for the first time on a jumper from Young and Artis' 3-pointer from the corner.
The Panthers continued to apply pressure to the Eagles and took their largest lead of the game after a Johnson dunk with 5:34 left to go up by 17 points. Johnson hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with two seconds left to give Pitt its final margin of victory and largest lead of the day at 23 points.
“[Dixon’s] message was just bounce back,” Johnson said. “Teams lose, it happens to everybody. Only the good teams or the great teams can bounce back.