Oct. 28, 2011
EXHIBITION GAME ONE
Pitt vs. La Roche College
Saturday, Oct. 29, Petersen Events Center, 4 p.m. ET
No. 11 PITT (28-6 in 2010-11) vs. LA ROCHE (25-3 in 2010-11)
Television: Live on Pitt Panthers Television on The Comcast Network (Channel 188 or 210). Bill Hillgrove and former player Marcus Bowman will call action.
The Coaches: Pitt--Jamie Dixon, 13th year at Pitt, 9th as head coach (216-60); La Roche--Harry Jenkins, 2nd year at LC, 2nd year overall (25-3).
Rankings: Pitt--AP: rankings not released; USA Today/ESPN: 11.
PITTSBURGH--No. 11 ranked and defending Big East regular season champion Pitt will play its first exhibition game of the 2011-12 basketball season when it hosts NCAA Division III and Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference regular season/tournament champion La Roche on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 4 p.m. ET.
A pre-game ceremony is planned to honor former La Roche College head coach Scott Lang and the 2010-11 Redhawk basketball team. Lang collapsed at center court during a practice last December and was rushed to a nearby hospital, but died at the age of 41. Coach Harry Jenkins took over the team and guided the squad to a 25-3 overall record, which included a 16-game win streak, the AMCC regular season title with a 17-1 slate and AMCC tournament title. La Roche players claim that Lang has been with them ever since.
La Roche returns three of its five starters from last year's team, including 2011 AMCC Defensive Player of the Year Mike Dixon (11.1 ppg./7.4 rpg.). Two other starters--forward Joel McIntosh (10.8 ppg./4.5 rpg.) and forward Derek Barber-Richards (5.8 ppg./3.4 rpg.) also return to the squad.
Following the game, Pitt will host an event for the Oakland Zoo.
Pitt will enter its season ranked No. 11 in the preseason USA Today/ESPN preseason coaches' poll. Pitt was also picked to finish fourth in the Big East preseason coaches' poll and Ashton Gibbs was named the Big East's preseason Player of the Year.
Pitt enters Saturday's matchup after having won 24 consecutive exhibition games. Head Coach Jamie Dixon is a perfect 16-0 in exhibition contests since he became head coach in 2003. This is the second exhibition meeting between the two schools. Pitt defeated La Roche, 82-30, on November 9, 2008. Sam Young led Pitt with 18 points.
Pitt will be without forward Nasir Robinson, who underwent surgery on his right knee. He is expected to return for Pitt's season opener against Albany on November 11.
No. 11 ranked Pitt returns two starters and seven of its top-10 letterwinners from a squad that won the Big East regular season title outright with a 15-3 record, finished 28-6 overall, garnered a No. 1 seed upon entering the NCAA Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th consecutive season.
Pitt will play its second exhibition game on Monday, Nov. 7 against Kentucky Wesleyan at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff for that contest is 7 p.m.