Dec. 4, 2009
PITTSBURGH--Pitt's Ashton Gibbs compared it to a YMCA game. Brad Wanamaker couldn't recall a similar game since his 8 and under league. New Hampshire coach Bill Herrion said it was like undergoing a root canal.
Whatever it was, it didn't resemble a NCAA Division I basketball game, especially during a record-setting first half in which Pitt shot terribly, New Hampshire shot even worse and scoreboard operator Jerry Ferber barely moved a finger.
Gibbs scored 23 points and Wanamaker added 19 as they combined for all but five of Pitt's points, and slow-starting Pittsburgh held New Hampshire to seven points during the lowest-scoring first half of the shot-clock era before winning 47-32 on Friday night.
The tired Panthers (7-1), playing two nights after a two-overtime victory over city rival Duquesne, led only 15-7 at halftime. The 22 combined points were the fewest in a first half of a Division I game since the shot clock era began in 1985 -- when there was a 45-second clock, rather than the 35-second clock adopted in 1993.
The teams broke the previous record held by Mississippi (15 points) and South Carolina (13 points), which combined for 28 points on Jan. 8, 2003. South Carolina ended up winning 55-49.
Pitt also tied a second NCAA record by holding New Hampshire to seven first half points. New Hampshire's seven points also matched the shot clock era record for fewest points in a half. Ohio led Central Michigan 35-7 at halftime on Jan. 14, 2006.
"Offensively, we turned the game back a few years," Herrion said. "We couldn't throw the ball in ... what river is close to here? The Monongahela? The Allegheny?"
Gibbs missed his first four shots after going 3-for-15 against Duquesne, but made his next seven while scoring 10 consecutive Pitt points at the end of the first half and the start of the second. Pitt shot 40.5 percent (17 of 42) -- 26.3 percent in the first half -- to the Wildcats' 23.5 percent (12 of 51).
The teams combined for 30 turnovers, 16 by Pitt.
New Hampshire (2-3) shot 12 percent (3 of 25) in the first half, 1 of 10 from 3-point range, and ended 4 of 17 from beyond the arc.
"We didn't shoot well, they didn't shoot well," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said in the understatement of the night.
Herrion joked the final score of the No. 5 Cincinnati-No. 14 Pitt football game on Saturday might be higher.
There was another record set, curiously -- Pitt tied a school record by winning its 43rd consecutive home game against a non-conference opponent. Dante Taylor came off the bench to get 11 rebounds as Pitt held a 36-31 edge on the boards.
"You play these kind of games against schools at that level, the ACC or Big East, and you hope your team can compete defensively and physically," said Herrion, the older brother of Pitt assistant Tom Herrion. "I really felt we had something to do with their (off night). But to try to score against those teams is difficult."
New Hampshire led 7-4 with 9:24 remaining in the first half, but didn't again until Tyron Conley hit a 3-pointer at 18:24 of the second half -- a scoreless span of 11 minutes.
Ferg Myrick scored 11 points in the Wildcats' lowest-scoring game since they lost to Boston University 53-29 on Jan. 13, 2007.
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