Defensive miscues undo first-half rally in loss to SMU

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Michael Young rips off his arm band after the Panthers' loss to SMU Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. — GETTY

NEW YORK — Michael Young called the venue "historic," recalling his two previous times playing at Madison Square Garden, and he channelled that nostalgia into a performance worthy of the stage Thursday night.

It was vintage Young against SMU, driving to the line while mixing a picturesque jump shot with relentless drives to the net. Jamel Artis followed him, thriving in the half court and not needing tempo to almost will Pitt back into the game.

It was more grit than flash for a team trying to play faster, but as those two thrived, their teammates were ineffective, and Pitt's defense continued to be its glaring weakness.

After fighting back from SMU's 16-point run in the first half, Pitt's defense failed to contain the Mustangs' talented guards, falling 76-67 in a first-round game of the 2K Classic on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.