ACC Basketball

Pittsburgh Puts Away Syracuse Late

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)

The big question heading into the Syracuse/Pittsburgh game was whether the Orange would show up after learning this week that there would be no postseason this season. Would it be an angry squad with a ‘us against the world’ mentality or would they throw in the towel, thinking ahead to next year.

Well, for 24 minutes it was certainly the former. The Orange controlled the action early, opening up a 10-point lead at one point behind Rakeem Christmas and Michael Gbinije (who both scored 23 for the game).

However, behind another solid game by Jamel Artis and a stunningly good performance from seldom used Sheldon Jeter, the Panthers started to find the open spots in the lane and took their first lead early in the second half after an 8-0 run. From there it was a battle, as the two teams swapped leads, but with a 77-75 advantage with a minute to go, Artis (who has scored 52 points in his last two games) nailed the three that gave Pitt a commanding five-point lead.

Yet, after the game all the talk was of Jeter, a transfer from Vanderbilt, who had averaged around 3 PPG. He finished with 18 points, shooting a solid 7-9 from the field. He was only playing because senior Cam Wright left the game in the first half with a left ankle injury and never returned.

For Syracuse, they dropped four of their last six games; those two wins coming against Boston College (119th) and Virginia Tech (173rd). Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has now won three in a row after losing three in a row. They get Syracuse again in two weeks, but in-between is brutal three-game stretch, like “Fifty Shades of Grey” without the sex kind-of brutal. They go to Louisville, then face North Carolina at home then head to Virginia. Yeah, good luck with that one.

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