43 points from Pitt's Artis not enough vs. Louisville
(TSX / STATS) -- LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- No. 14 Louisville overcame a 43-point effort from Pitt senior guard Jamel Artis, holding off the Panthers for an 85-80 win Wednesday in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Cardinals (14-3, 2-2 ACC) used a 23-4 first-half run to build a 21-point halftime lead before Pitt got as close as four points in the second half.
"Well, it was the tale of two halves," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "We played a brilliant first half. We got constantly beat off the dribble in the second half. ... Give a lot of credit to Jamel Artis, he is a terrific basketball player -- 43 points is an awesome performance."
Louisville was led by Quentin Snider's 22 points. Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell added 15 points apiece. The Cardinals played so well in the first half, but had significant breakdowns after halftime as Artis poured in the points.
"I told the guys to guard him when he crossed halfcourt and David (Levitch) said 'Coach, he shot from 20 feet out,'" Pitino said. "When a guy is having a Steph Curry kind of night, you have to guard him when he crosses halfcourt."
Pitt coach Kevin Stallings said Artis "is just a good player and he's very skilled. He's completely unaffected by any environment. He's got a lot of competitiveness to him and a lot of toughness to him. None of us are surprised to see him play really well. That was impressive."
Michael Young contributed 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for the Panthers (12-5, 2-2), but Artis was the star of the night.
"It wasn't Mike's best night, but it probably wasn't going to be anybody's best night the was Jamel was going," Stallings said.
Louisville's ninth consecutive win over Pittsburgh appeared to be in hand but became more tense late in the second half. Pitt led 7-4 early, but Louisville scored 23 of the next 27 points to take a commanding 27-11 lead. The Cardinals led by as much as 26 points before Pitt cut the lead to seven points with just over three minutes left.
"We played a poor first half on both ends and they played well, obviously," Stallings said. "That was more than we could recover from."
The first-half run started with a pair of jumpers by Adel and two free throws from Snider. Back-to-back Snider 3-pointers put Louisville up 24-11 with 9:35 to go before the half, and the run finished up with a three-point play by Mangok Mathiang.
Pitt cut Louisville's lead to 32-19 with just under seven minutes to go before halftime, but the Cardinals pushed to a 47-26 halftime advantage on the strength of 50 percent shooting in the first half.
The Cardinals' lead ballooned to 52-26 in the first three minutes of the second half. Pitt managed to whittle the lead to 14 points at 63-49 with 8:07 left, but Louisville responded with four quick points by Adel.
Pitt wasn't done. Led by 32 second-half points by Artis, the Panthers kept chipping away at Louisville's lead until a 3-pointer by Artis cut the margin to 71-64 with 3:15 left.
"The first half, we had a brilliant performance defensively, brilliant performance offensively. Second half, very poor performance from both ends of the floor," Pitino said.
The Cardinals got a layup by Snider to pause the Pitt run, then closed out the win with the help of free throws by Adel and Mitchell and layups by Snider and Mitchell.
NOTES: Louisville has not lost to Pittsburgh since 2010. ... Louisville is second in the nation in blocks at 6.9 per game. The Cardinals had six against Pitt, three of them by Mangok Mathiang. ... Pitt coach Kevin Stallings picked up a technical foul in the first half. ... Pitt G Jamel Artis' 43 points came on 15-of-22 shooting, including 7-of-13 accuracy on 3-point tries. He made 6 of 8 free throws. ... Artis' 43 points is the most by a Pitt player since Don Hennon's 45 vs. Duke in 1957.
Updated January 11, 2017