Nov. 19, 2009
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GAME 3: EASTERN KENTUCKY (1-0, 0-0 Ohio Valley) at PITT (2-0, 0-0 Big East)
O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic Thursday, November 19, 2009
7 p.m. ET Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: Watch live on PittsburghPanthers.com (video and audio)
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 (165-45); Eastern Kentucky: Jeff Neubauer, 5th year at EKU (68-47), 5th year overall (68-47).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-ARV; ESPN-ARV, EKU: not ranked.
Series: Pitt and Eastern Kentucky meet for third time in series history. Pitt is 2-0 all-time vs. the Colonels. The two teams last met in back-to-back seasons in 1980 and 1981. Pitt is 4-0 all-time vs. Ohio Valley Conference opponents (EKU 2-0, Morehead State 1-0, Murray State 1-0).
PITTSBURGH--Pitt (2-0) plays its second O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic game on Thursday, Nov. 19 when it hosts Ohio Valley Conference foe Eastern Kentucky (1-0) at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET.
Pitt improved to 2-0 with a 71-46 win over Binghamton on Tuesday. The game was played as part of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic. Pitt built a 37-17 halftime lead fueled by five 3-pointers and 17 points from Ashton Gibbs. Gibbs finished with 22 points and six 3-pointers, Brad Wanamaker added 14 and Travon Woodall contributed a double-double with 10 points and 13 assists. The win gave Pitt its 40th straight home win over a non-conference opponent. The school record for most consecutive non-conference home victories is 43 set from November 7, 2000-January 2, 2005. Pitt also improved to 68-1 against non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center.
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 nine points late in the second half before juniors Brad Wanamaker and Gary McGhee made several key plays down the stretch to lead the Panthers to a comeback victory.
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 in 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 in the season opener against Wofford that had 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.
Eastern Kentucky (1-0) returns three starters and nine letterwinners from a team that finished 18-13 last year. The Colonels feature Pittsburgh native Josh Taylor, who scored 19 points in the season opener against West Virginia Wesleyan. Taylor played the previous two summers in the Greentree Collegiate Summer League. Guard Justin Stommes led all scorers with 28.
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center with a 117-10 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 68-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center and has claimed 89 of its last 91 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.
At home, Pitt is currently riding a 23-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 23-game home win streak ranks as the nation's third longest streak behind Kansas (42) and Utah State (34).
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 117-10 record (.921 winning percentage) in the arena. Pitt owns a 68-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt has won 23 straight home games, a streak which ranks third among the school's all-time home win streaks. It currently ranks as the nation's third longest home win streak.
Pitt is also riding a school record 40-game win streak against non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center.
For the third 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).
Jamie Dixon enters tonight's contest with a perfect 33-0 career record in November games.