By Nick Veronica
Emile Blackmon led all players with 16 points in his first Division I game, but it was hardly enough to keep Niagara competitive with ACC power Pitt, which rolled to a 78-45 victory Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
It took Niagara 6 minutes and 45 seconds to make a field goal as Pitt jumped out to a 15-1 lead.
Blackmon, a redshirt sophomore who transferred from LIU Post, was 6 of 14 from the floor and was the only Purple Eagle to make more than two shots.
“This is a young group and I was glad we threw them into the fire for this game,” Niagara coach Chris Casey said.
Niagara shot just .250 from the field (12-48) and didn’t connect from behind the arc. Eight players missed a three-pointer, including an 0-for-4 night from Wesley Myers.
Jamel Artis scored a career-high 14 points to lead Pitt while Josh Newkirk added 12 points and five assists off the bench. The Panthers have won 18 consecutive season openers.
Niagara’s next game is its conference opener. The Purple Eagles travel to Saint Peter’s for a 7 p.m. contest on Thursday.