Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt 93, Eastern Michigan 90 a Math Contest Double Ot Adds Up to Debut Victory

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt 93, Eastern Michigan 90 a Math Contest Double Ot Adds Up to Debut Victory

Article excerpt

Though it came in a different building in a somewhat distant era, Kevin Stallings fondly remembers one of his first experiences in Pittsburgh. Few others in Western Pennsylvania could say the same.

With a talented and veteran-laden Illinois State team, Stallings, then a 36-year-old upstart in his fourth season at the school, came into Fitzgerald Field House and saw his squad hand Pitt a 19-point loss to open the 1996-97 season.

This week, as Stallings prepared for his first game in his debut season at Pitt, that triumph from 20 years ago became a piece of trivia -not only because of Stallings' involvement, but also because it marked the most recent time the Panthers lost a season-opener at home.

"I would just hate to be the cause of the last two home opener losses," he said Tuesday, with a laugh. "I didn't mind being the first one, but I'd hate to be this one."

What would have been a doomsday scenario for Stallings and Pitt never materialized -but just barely.

Jamel Artis poured in a game-high 27 points -with Mike Young (26), Sheldon Jeter (12) and Chris Jones (10) also finishing in double figures -as the Panthers escaped a potential disaster by outlasting Eastern Michigan, 93-90, in double overtime Friday night at Petersen Events Center to open the 2016-17 season.

"These first games can, if you're not playing somebody who's completely inferior, be hard," Stallings said. "I call them out-of-body experiences. It can be difficult, especially against that style [a 2-3 zone]. Our guys grinded it out. I'm proud of them.

"One of my favorite lines, from when I used to play golf, is that it's not an art contest; it's a math contest. So is this game. It's not an art contest; it's math. And we added up more than they did. Good for our guys because it would feel a heck of a lot different in here if that score was reversed."

Stylistically, the changes Stallings implemented, the same ones that represented a clear break from Jamie Dixon's 13-year tenure, were evident. …

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