Sheldon Jeter learned at this morning's shootaround he would make his first start of the year. Assistant coach Brandin Knight asked Jeter if he would bring energy if he started, to which Jeter responded in the affirmative.
Jeter's action backed up his words. The junior forward scored a career-high 23 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead Pitt to a 90-71 victory against Virginia Tech Sunday.
"It's good to get Sheldon going," Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. "He's always been one of our guys and we've always thought of him as a starter so it was good to see him produce."
Michael Young added 13 points and Jamel Artis chipped in 11 for Pitt (17-4, 6-3 ACC). The Panthers recorded 30 assists on their 36 made field goals to shoot 53 percent.
Pitt also capitalized on 20 Virginia Tech turnovers, off which they scored 33 points. Dixon noted the emphasis of taking more charges and how that impacted the team's ability to force turnovers.
"We're getting driven on too much and we've got to do some things to contain that," Dixon said. "We wanted to be more aggressive."
Seth Allen led all scorers with 28 points and made all five of his 3-point tries. Jalen Hudson finished with 13 points for Virginia Tech (12-10, 4-5 ACC) while Zach LeDay and Justin Bibbs had 12 apiece.
"They shredded us in every way," Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams said of Pitt. "I think Louisville had nine guys score against us, they had 10."
Jeter energized the Panthers at the game's outset. He scored 13 of Pitt's first 17 points as the Panthers led after nine minutes and credited his hot start to being warm at the beginning of the game instead of entering off the bench and needing to get warm again on the floor.
"It's a lot easier to make shots," Jeter said, "transitioning from where you're warming up, shooting shots and your legs are loose."
Jeter was held scoreless for the rest of the half but Pitt shot 59 percent over the first 20 minutes and led 41-32 at halftime. Allen hit three 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 14 at the half.
Pitt extended its lead into double-digits and remained comfortably ahead for the rest of the game. Damon Wilson's and-one layup with 9:30 to play gave the Panthers their largest lead Sunday at 21 points, 69-48.