PITTSBURGH — Pitt freshman wing Justin Champagnie had only made a 3-point attempt in two of his first eleven games as a Pitt Panther. Champagnie connected on his first three attempts from 3-point range on Monday in Pitt’s win against Canisius.
“It feels good,” Champagnie said, following his career-high 21 point performance. “It’s just a confidence boost.”
Champagnie and his team didn’t have a game for ten straight days before their contest against the Golden Griffins. Champagnie found himself in the gym, getting shots up for much of that time off.
Those extra practice reps showed to be a difference-maker for Champagnie on Monday afternoon in Pitt’s final non-conference battle.
Champagnie was zero for his last ten attempts before this performance and 5-of-37 on the season.
“After those games where I had zero (threes), coach (Jeff Capel) was like, ‘You just have to get in the gym and continue to shoot,’ Champagnie said. “So (now), every day, I shoot.”
The difference on Monday was that all of Champagnie’s shots were shot with a great deal of confidence and rhythm.
Champagnie hot shooting continued throughout the game as he finished 7-of-8 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. He hit two-consecutive threes with just under 15-minutes left in the game that gave Pitt some much-needed separation after Canisius cut their double-digit lead to only two points.
“He’s been shooting, and (putting in) extra work,” Capel said. “He made them tonight. He could 0-for-5 next game. … Hopefully, not.”
Shooting performances like the one of Champagnie could be the deciding factor in a lot of the Panthers’ wins and losses the remainder of the season.
“(Champagnie) can shoot the ball,” Sophomore Au’Diese Toney said about the importance of Justin’s confident play. “He can do a lot of things that we need (come ACC play).
Against Canisius, Pitt shot 9-of-16 from 3-point land and scored in the 80s for the first time this season. Nine made 3-pointers are tied for the most in their first 13 games (9-for-26 against Florida State).