PITTSBURGH — In simply ten days, Jeff Capel’s Pitt squad has crushed a Roy Williams-led North Carolina squad two separate occasions.
The Tar Heels are lacking their finest participant in Cole Anthony, however it’s nonetheless a powerful feat, to say the least, given the Panthers’ struggles in convention play over the previous few seasons.
Within the first assembly towards Carolina, Pitt acquired two key performances from sophomore Trey McGowens (24 factors) and freshman Justin Champagnie (22). On Saturday, McGowens and Champagnie had been Three-for-18 from the sector and scored simply 10 factors.
However that was OK.
The Panthers relied on sophomore Xavier Johnson and junior Ryan Murphy. Johnson completed with a game-high 20 factors and 6 assists whereas Murphy added 14 and made all three of his 3s within the first half to bolster Pitt’s 20-point lead on the break.
Maybe essentially the most vital distinction between this Pitt crew and the crew a yr in the past is the number of guys that may rating the ball.
“The distinction between this yr and final yr is that now we have a whole lot of scores,” Johnson mentioned. “It’s not only one individual that may rating. If one individual has a foul sport, I do know another person could have a great sport. That’s the belief you bought to have each evening.”
That belief that the gamers have in one another is one thing comparatively younger and new crew has to work at, particularly for when video games get tight.
However put the scoring apart, Capel remains to be stressing that it’s important for the crew as an entire to play with the identical sense of urgency, regardless if one individual is having a troublesome evening within the scoring division.
“Everybody on this crew, sooner or later this yr, has proven what they’re able to doing at a excessive stage,” Capel mentioned. “To ensure that us to turn out to be one of the best crew that we will be, we want everybody to be one of the best model of themselves, and for them to carry one another accountable for that.”
Capel is aware of that for his program to take off, it takes a collective effort for 40 minutes every evening. Despite the fact that Pitt’s protection has taken a lot of the limelight early on this season, the offense has proven good spurts.
On Saturday towards Carolina, Capel’s crew had a type of good offensive spurts for nearly the whole lot of the primary half
“We had been selfless,” Capel added. “I assumed the ball was simply transferring within the first half. It was crisp, and we actually shared it.”
The principle cause for the offensive move was the play of Johnson.
“I assumed (Johnson) was terrific,” Capel mentioned. “I assumed he created pictures for others, which led to pictures for himself, performs for himself. He was in a position to get within the paint; he was in a position to get downhill, and I assumed he made terrific selections.”
Murphy’s offensive sport additionally impressed his coach — apart from a Three-point try on the finish of the sport, that Capel known as “God terrible.”
The guard, who is understood for his long-range taking pictures, hit just a few mid-range jumpers and likewise penetrated the lane and created alternatives for others. Pitt had solely 5 turnovers all through the primary 30-plus minutes on Saturday (earlier than ending with 9).
These others who benefitted from the playmaking talents of Johnson and Murphy had been the likes of Terrell Brown and Au’Diese Toney. They gave the Panthers 18 mixed factors, and Pitt outscored UNC 22-7 in bench factors.