PITTSBURGH (AP) – Justin Champagnie scored a career-high 18 points as Pittsburgh rolled to a 66-41 victory over Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Thursday.
Champagnie, a 6-foot-6 wing from Brooklyn, has come on strong early in his first year with Pitt (4-2). It was his fourth consecutive game in double figures. Against the Golden Lions (0-5), he shot 6 of 10 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds.
He did most of his work in the paint, where Pitt had a 36-20 advantage. Eric Hamilton had 12 points and eight rebounds in the first half before being limited later due to foul trouble.
Xavier Johnson scored 13 points and was a threat shooting over the Golden Lions’ zone. He was 3 of 7 from 3-point range.
The Panthers never trailed in the game, steadily grew the lead to 13 points at halftime and pulled away in the second period for the 25-point margin of victory, Pitt’s largest of the season. It was the lowest point total the Panthers allowed since holding Holy Cross to 39 points on Dec. 23, 2014.
Markedric Bell singlehandedly kept things close for Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He scored 21 points on 10-of-19 shooting.
Arkansas Pine-Bluff was unable to replicate the formula that helped them give Kansas State a scare earlier in the week, mostly due to a poor first half shooting. The Lions hit 23.1% in the first half.
Pitt had yet to completely dominate an inferior opponent through an up-and-down start to the season. After losing to Nicholls State, they had to sweat out a slow first half against Robert Morris before pulling away late.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Plays its first and only home game nonconference game of the season against non-NCAA opponent Champion Christian College on Monday.
Pitt: Travels to Fort Myers, Florida, for two more games in the Fort Myers Tip-Off, the first against Kansas State on Monday.
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