Nov. 27, 2009
GAME SIX: YOUNGSTOWN STATE (3-2, 0-0 Horizon League) at PITT (4-1, 0-0 Big East)
Saturday, November 28, 2009 Noon ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN Regional/FSN Pittsburgh (Rob King and Anthony Buford; P: Bill Shissler).
National TV Affiliates:
Live: ESPN360, Pittsburgh (FSN Pittsburgh), Providence, R.I. (Cox-New England), Kansas City (Metro KC), Orlando-Daytona, Fla. (Brighthouse), Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (Brighthouse);
Tape Delay: New York City (SportsnetNY) at 5 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.-Baltimore (MASN) at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). XM Satellite Radio: N/A.
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 11th year at Pitt, 7th year as head coach (167-46); Youngstown State: Jerry Slocum, 5th year at YSU (44-84); 35th year overall (624-405).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-ARV; ESPN-ARV, YSU: not ranked.
Series: Pitt and Youngstown State meet for the seventh time in men's basketball. Pitt is 5-1 all-time vs. the Penguins. The last time the Panthers played Youngstown State was on December 13, 2003, a 57-42 Pitt win. Pitt is 19-11 all-time vs. Horizon League opponents.
Pitt (4-1) returns home to host Youngstown State (3-2) in a non-conference game on Saturday, Nov. 28 at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at noon ET.
The game will be televised by ESPN Regional and broadcast locally on FSN Pittsburgh. Rob King (play-by-play) and Anthony Buford (color) will provide commentary. Bill Shissler will handle production.
Pitt enters its sixth game of the year with a 4-1 record for the first time in 11 years after a 78-62 loss in the CBE Classic Championship game to No. 3 ranked Texas. The loss at Kansas City's Sprint Center, snapped Pitt's 39-game November win streak dating back to the 2001 season. For the first 32 minutes, the youthful Panthers battled point-for-point with the Longhorns, and even led at halftime, 34-32. Texas outscored Pitt 14-3 over a second half span to win. No. 3 ranked Texas represented the highest ranked opponent Pitt has played in November since Nov. 29, 1994 when it faced No. 2 North Carolina. The Panthers dropped to 2-3 all-time vs. top-5 teams in November.
In its first CBE Classic game, Pitt defeated Wichita State 68-55. The Panthers established an 11-point (32-21) halftime lead and held off the Shockers, who were playing in front of 3,000 loyal fans. Travon Woodall scored a career-high 19 points, Ashton Gibbs finished with 18 points and Gary McGhee 10 as Pitt improved to 4-0 for the 11th straight year.
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 its season opener against Wofford that had accumulated just one previous career start. Dixon (broken fifth metatarsil in right foot) and redshirt junior 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.
Youngstown State is 3-2 on the year and currently riding a two-game win streak after defeating Geneva (88-47) and Saint Peter's (N.J.) (68-56). The Penguins, who have lost games to Xavier (83-57) and Kent State (70-61) are led by DeAndre Mays (10.8 ppg.) and Vytas Sulskis (10.8 ppg.).
Pitt is 5-1 all-time against Youngstown State. The last time the two teams played was on December 13, 2003, a 57-42 Pitt win at the Petersen Events Center. The last time Pitt played a Horizon League team was Wright State on March 15, 2007, a 79-58 NCAA Tournament First Round victory in Buffalo, N.Y. The Panthers are a combined 19-11 all-time vs. Horizon League opponents (Butler 5-7, Cleveland State 5-2, Detroit 0-1, Illinois-Chicago 1-0, Wright State 3-0 and Youngstown State 5-1).
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center with a 118-10 all-time record and .922 winning percentage. The .922 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 69-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center and has claimed 90 of its last 92 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.
At home, Pitt is currently riding a 24-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 24-game home win streak ranks as the nation's third longest streak behind Kansas (43) and Utah State (34).
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 118-10 record (.922 winning percentage) in the arena. Pitt owns a 69-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt has won 24 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 41-game win streak against non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. The school record is currently 43 consecutive home wins vs. non-conference opponents.
For the sixth straight game, Pitt will start five players who had a combined one career start prior to the season opener. Pitt is without its 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 today's contest with a 35-1 career record in November. He is a combined 77-5 vs. non-conference opponents.