Nov. 16, 2009
GAME TWO: BINGHAMTON (1-0, 0-0 America East) at PITT (1-0, 0-0 Big East)
O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic Tuesday, November 17, 2009
5:30 p.m. ET Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN2 (John Saunders, Bob Valvano and Bob Holtzman; Producer: Eric Mosley).
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). XM Satellite Radio: TBA.
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 11th year at Pitt, 7th year as head coach (164-45); Binghamton: Mark Macon, 1st year at BU (1-0); 1st year as a head coach (1-0).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-ARV; ESPN-ARV, Binghamton: not ranked.
Series: Pitt and Binghamton meet for the first time. Pitt is 9-0 all-time vs. America East Conference opponents. (Albany 1-0, Boston 1-0, Maine 1-0, UMBC 2-0, New Hampshire 1-0, Vermont 3-0). The last time Pitt played an America East opponent was UMBC on Dec. 13, 2008, a 91-56 win.
Pitt opens the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic play on Tuesday, Nov. 17 when it hosts America East Conference foe Binghamton (1-0) at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. ET. The game is being played at 5:30 p.m. as part of ESPN's 24-7 coverage of college basketball.
The game will be nationally televised by ESPN2 with John Saunders and Bob Valvano calling action. Bob Holtzman will provide sideline reports and Pitt graduate Eric Mosley will produce.
Prior to tipoff, Pitt will honor Head Coach Jamie Dixon and sophomore point guard Ashton Gibbs for their involvement in leading the 2009 Under-19 USA Basketball Team to the FIBA World Championships this summer in New Zealand. The team captured the American's first gold medal in 18 years at the Under-19 age level. Dixon took over the team late in the process, had to select an entirely new squad and guided the team to a 9-0 record and subsequent gold medal. Gibbs emerged as the team's starting guard, while averaging 9.8 points and leading the squad in minutes played (202) and minutes per game (22.4).
Pitt opened its season on Friday with a 63-60 win over Wofford. Sporting a lineup with a combined one career start against a team that returned all five starters, Pitt trailed for the majority of the contest and trailed by as many as 13 points late in the second half before Brad Wanamaker and Gary McGhee made several key plays down the stretch to lead the Panthers to a comeback victory. The win marked Pitt's 13th consecutive season opening victory since the 1997 season. The win gave Pitt its 39th straight home win over a non-conference opponent. The school record for most consecutive non-conference home victories is 43 from November 7, 2000-January 2, 2005. Pitt also improved to 67-1 against non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt claimed each of its two exhibition games over NCAA Division II opponents Slippery Rock (75-64) and Coker College, S.C. (83-40). With the wins, Pitt has now won 22 consecutive exhibition games dating back to a Nov. 10, 1988 loss to Marathon Oil. Head Coach Jamie Dixon is a perfect 14-0 in exhibition games since he became head coach in 2002-03 and the Panthers improved to 12-0 in exhibition games since the NCAA cleared other NCAA Division schools for competition. The Panthers defeated Slippery Rock 75-64 on Nov. 1 behind a 27-point, nine rebound performance from freshman Dante Taylor. The 27 points represented the most points scored by a Pitt player in an exhibition game since Chris McNeal scored 29 points vs. Marathon Oil on November 13, 1991. Pitt followed that performance with an 83-40 win over Coker College, S.C. on Nov. 8. The Panthers limited Coker to just six first half points and led 41-6 at halftime. Redshirt freshman guard Travon Woodall led the Panthers with a 21-point performance vs. Coker.
Pitt begins its 103rd campaign of basketball and 2009-10 season after it completed a 31-5 record, placed second in the Big East with a 15-3 record, advanced to the NCAA Regional/Elite Eight for the first time in 35 years, ascended to the nation's No. 1 national ranking for the first time in school history, completed a perfect 19-0 home record and earned a No. 1 seed upon entering the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
Pitt must find a way to replace four departed starters including NBA players center DeJuan Blair (San Antonio Spurs) and small forward Sam Young (Memphis Grizzlies), along with power forward Tyrell Biggs (playing professionally in Greece) and point guard Levance Fields (playing professionally in Russia). Over the last four seasons, the foursome combined for 286 career starts, 4,714 points, 2,282 rebounds and 932 assists. Fields and Young both scored over 1,000 career points and DeJuan Blair scored 979 points.
The Panthers return just one starter (Jermaine Dixon) and six letterwinners from that squad. Pitt started five players Friday evening that accumulated just one previous career start. Dixon (broken fifth metatarsil in right foot) and Gilbert Brown (academic suspension) will not play. For a rundown on how much experience Pitt will have on the floor in the early going, please take a look at the chart on page 6.
Binghamton is a team devastated by off-court issues. The Bearcats won the America East title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year with a 23-9 record. Binghamton lost its NCAA Tournament first round matchup to Duke, 86-62.
Pitt opens its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center with a 116-10 all-time record and .921 winning percentage. The .921 winning percentage ranks among the nation's best home court records over the last seven years (see chart page 8). Pitt has won 54 of its last 63 Big East home games and is 49-9 against Big East opponents in the Petersen Events Center. Only one opponent (Louisville) has defeated the Panthers two times in the Petersen Events Center. Pitt also owns a 67-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center and has claimed 88 of its last 90 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.
At home, Pitt is currently riding a 22-game home win streak and concluded the 2008-09 regular season with an undefeated 19-0 home record, its fourth all-time undefeated year at home. Pitt also was undefeated in 2002-03 (16-0), 1973-74 (13-0) and 1974-75 (10-0). The 22-game home win streak ranks as the nation's third longest streak behind Kansas (42) and Utah State (34).
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Jamie Dixon and Ashton Gibbs will be honored for their role in USA Basketball's gold-medal winning performance at the FIBA World Championships this summer.
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 116-10 record (.921 winning percentage) in the arena. Pitt owns a 67-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt has won 22 straight home games, a streak which ranks third among the school's all-time home win streaks. The streak ranks as the nation's third longest current streak.
Pitt is riding a school record 39-game win streak against non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center.
For the second straight game, Pitt will start five players who had a combined one career start prior to entering the season opener. The Panthers open their season without their two top returnees from last year: returning starter Jermaine Dixon (broken right foot) and last year's sixth man Gilbert Brown (academic suspension).
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