Pittsburgh Panthers vs SMU Mustangs
Just two games into the season, Pittsburgh and SMU already have two common opponents for comparison purposes when they meet Thursday in the semifinals of the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project at Madison Square Garden in New York City (Enter Contest). This is the first game all-time between the programs.
Pittsburgh survived Eastern Michigan 93-90 in double overtime of the season opener last Friday and posted a 19-point victory over Gardner-Webb the last time out. Cameron Johnson scored four 3-pointers against Gardner-Webb, while Michael Young had 18 points and seven rebounds in just 15 minutes off the bench.
The Mustangs easily dispatched the same two teams by a combined 55 points. Semi Ojeleye had 26 points in a 72-44 rout of Gardner-Webb and added 18 and eight rebounds as SMU led by as many as 29 in a 91-64 pasting of Eastern Michigan. Mustangs coach Tim Jankovich, who was 9-0 last season filling in for suspended coach Larry Brown, is off to a fast start since being named head coach in July after the 76-year-old Brown’s resignation.
ABOUT PITTSBURGH (2-0)
Senior forward Sheldon Jeter added 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against Gardner-Webb. It was his second career double-double. Forward Jamel Artis collected 11 points and six assists in that game. Pittsburgh shot 53.8 percent from the floor and drained 13-of-26 shots from the arc. Despite lack of effort at times, Pitt has scored 90 or more points in each of the first two games of first-year coach Kevin Stallings’ up-tempo offense for the first time since 1989-90. Young was named the ACC co-Player of the Week on Monday, averaging 22 points on 65 percent shooting in his first two games with 17 rebounds and six assists. Pitt is 7-0 in 2K Classic Events (formerly Coaches vs. Cancer), claimed the tournament championship in 2010 and is 46-45 all-time at MSG.
ABOUT SMU (2-0)
Sophomore guard Jarrey Foster scored a career-high 18 points against Eastern Michigan and shot 8-of-9, while senior forward Ben Moore had 11 points and six rebounds as the Mustangs shot 53 percent from the floor and dominated the boards 44-26. Ojeleye, a 6-7 transfer from Duke who played in 23 games there in two seasons, was named the American Athletic Conference’s Player of the Week on Monday after tallying 44 points and 22 rebounds in his first two games. Sterling Brown, a 6-6 guard, is averaging 11.5 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the first two games. Jankovich served as an assistant coach under Stallings at Vanderbilt from 1999-2003.