Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt 112, Marshall 106 Duo Leads Way Again Artis, Young Each Score 30 Points as Panthers Outlast Thundering Herd

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt 112, Marshall 106 Duo Leads Way Again Artis, Young Each Score 30 Points as Panthers Outlast Thundering Herd

Article excerpt

Dan D'Antoni had seen games like this unfold before, with an overmatched team finding a way to, somehow, get within a few points or even win in what seemed like an instant.

He'd seen it before as an assistant coach under his brother Mike, now the coach of the Houston Rockets, when the two oversaw a Phoenix Suns team in the early 2000s that utilized a tempo and style of play that revolutionized the sport. Now the coach at Marshall, he has seen it with his own team, which accrues more possessions than all but four of 351 Division I teams. With the way his team plays, he reasons, it's never out of a game.

"I tell our team all the time, 'When we're up 20, it's still a ballgame; you better be playing. If we're down 20, that other team better realize it's still a ball game,' " D'Antoni said after Pitt's 112-106 victory Wednesday night. "Because the way we play, points are going to go up on the board."

In 13 games as Pitt's coach, Kevin Stallings has witnessed it, too, albeit for different reasons. A Panthers team featuring four senior starters has puzzlingly made a habit this season of squandering leads of 20 or more. It will still hold on to win those games, but, perhaps for that reason, lessons never seem to be completely learned from those slips.

On opposing benches at Petersen Events Center, the two coaches saw that familiar sight transpire, with Pitt coming dangerously close to surrendering a 29-point second-half lead in what turned out to be a win to close out the non-conference portion of its schedule.

A familiar script came with familiar takeaways.

"It's human nature to lose focus," Stallings said. "I'm asking 18-, 22-year-old guys to do things even guys much older than them have a difficult time doing. It's hard sometimes to play with a big lead. Again, we've had a bunch of big leads. That means we're capable of doing some really good things."

The 112 points were the fifth most in program history and the most since November 1993. …

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