Champagnie leads Pitt over Arkansas-Pine Bluff 66- 41

PITTSBURGH, PA – Justin Champagnie scored a career-high 18 points as Pittsburgh rolled to a 66- 41 victory over Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Thursday.

Pitt Head Mens Basketball Coach Jeff Capel Directing the Panthers during their win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff (Photo Credit : Vince Butts-UMT Sports)

“Well, it’s good to win two games in a row. I thought we did some good stuff in this game.” Said Pitt head coach Jeff Capel. “I like the energy that we played with, and I like the fact that we only had six turnovers to 17 assists. I thought we did a good job with sharing the ball and as the game went on I thought we attacked the zone a little bit better. This was good for us to get a 40 minute game so we can solve zone because we really haven’t faced much zone all season. I thought we did some good things. Justin Champagnie was obviously terrific, and I thought it was Eric [Hamilton]’s best game. For Xavier Johnson to have six assists and no turnovers is a big step in the right direction. ”

Pitt Freshman Justin Champagnie going to the hoop against an Arkansas Pine-Bluff Defender in the Panthers win over UAPB (Photo Credit: Vince Butts -UMT Sports)

Champagnie, a 6-foot-6 wing from Brooklyn, has come on strong early in his first year with Pitt (4-2). It was his fourth consecutive game in double figures. Against the Golden Lions (0-5), he shot 6 of 10 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds.

He did most of his work in the paint, where Pitt had a 36-20 advantage. Eric Hamilton had 12 points and eight rebounds in the first half before being limited later due to foul trouble.

“We think he’s a talented kid, but we want more from him and were going to be hard on him because we think he can do more.” Capel said of Champagnie “At times it looks like he’s not going as hard. Part of that is because he is a gifted athlete, but again there are some habits that we have to continue to work with him on. He’s played well the last two games since he started, he’s really played well all year. But, there’s a few more levels we think he can get to and we’re going to be on him to get there.”

Pitt Guard Xavier Johnson (#1) Directing the Panthers offense in the victory over UAPB (Photo Credit: Vince Butts -UMT Sports)

Xavier Johnson scored 13 points and was a threat shooting over the Golden Lions’ zone. He was 3 of 7 from 3-point range.

“It was good.” Said Johnson Coach Capel On the level of comfort in tonight’s game “ Coach Capel talked to us a couple days after the West Virginia game and said we need each other. I think that is starting to show on the court. We all love each other and enjoy playing together.” The Panthers never trailed in the game, steadily grew the lead to 13 points at halftime and pulled away in the second period for the 25-point margin of victory, Pitt’s largest of the season. It was the lowest point total the Panthers allowed since holding Holy Cross to 39 points on Dec. 23, 2014.

Markedric Bell (#3)Arkansas Pine Bluff goes up for the dunk against the Panthers in the UAPB loss (Photo Credit: Vince Butts-UMT Sports)

Markedric Bell singlehandedly kept things close for Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He scored 21 points on 10-of-19 shooting.

I’m pleased with it, I look forward to traveling to Florida and getting a chance to play in the tournament.”-Said Capel.

BIG PICTURE

Arkansas Pine-Bluff was unable to replicate the formula that helped them give Kansas State a scare earlier in the week, mostly due to a poor first half shooting. The Lions hit 23.1% in the first half.

Pitt had yet to completely dominate an inferior opponent through an up-and-down start to the season. After losing to Nicholls State, they had to sweat out a slow first half against Robert Morris before pulling away late.

UP NEXT

Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Plays its first and only home game nonconference game of the season against non-NCAA opponent Champion Christian College on Monday.

Pitt: Travels to Fort Myers, Florida, for two more games in the Fort Myers Tip-Off, the first against Kansas State on Monday.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

www.PittsburghPanthers.com

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