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Men's Basketball Plays Indiana in Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday




Dec. 7, 2009

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GAME 9: INDIANA (3-4, 0-0 Big 10) vs. PITT (7-1, 0-0 Big East)

 

Jimmy V Classic • Tuesday, December 8, 2009 • 9 p.m. ET

Madison Square Garden (19,528) • New York, N.Y.

 

MEDIA INFORMATION

 

Television: ESPN/ESPN 360 (Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas; Sideline: Doris Burke; Producer: Dan Steir)


 

 

Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Channel 126 (Pitt feed); XM 218 (IU feed).

Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com

The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 11th year at Pitt, 7th year as head coach (170-46); Indiana: Tom Crean, 2nd year at Indiana (9-29), 11th year overall (199-125).

Rankings: Pitt: AP-ARV; ESPN-ARV, Indiana: not ranked.

Series: Pitt and Indiana meet for the eighth time in history with Pitt holding a 4-3 advantage. The last time the two schools met was in the 2003 NCAA Tournament Second Round, a 74-52 win in Boston. Pitt has won 10 of its last 12 meetings with Big 10 schools since 2001-02.

 

GAME PREVIEW

 

PITTSBURGH--Pitt (7-1) travels to New York City and Madison Square Garden to play in its second all-time Jimmy V Classic against Indiana (3-4) on Tuesday night. Tipoff is at 9 p.m. ET.

 

The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analysis) and Doris Burke (sidelines) making the call. Dan Steir will produce.

 

Riding a three-game win streak, Pitt enters its ninth game of the 2009-10 season with a 7-1 record. Pitt defeated New Hampshire 47-32 on Friday at the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers held UNH to an NCAA record tying seven points and limited the Wildcats to 3-25 shooting in the first half. With their 22 combined first half points, the two teams set an NCAA Division I record for fewest combined points scored in a half, surpassing the previous record of 28 points set by South Carolina and Mississippi in a 2003 contest. Ashton Gibbs (23) and Brad Wanamaker (19) both notched career-highs for the Panthers in the contest.

 

The Panthers needed double overtime to defeat Duquesne 67-58 in Wednesday night's City Game Rivalry at Mellon Arena. The contest, which drew 12,336 fans, marked the final college basketball game played at Mellon Arena. The City Game saw the Panthers send the game into overtime after rallying all the way back from a 16-point second half deficit. Pitt used a 7-0 run to cut the deficit down to one point with 3:04 left. An Ashton Gibbs 3-pointer with 2:06 remaining in regulation, tied the game at 53-53 and sent the game into overtime. After the two teams scored just three points apiece in the first overtime period, Pitt outscored Duquesne 11-2 in the second overtime to claim the win. Gibbs hit two 3-pointers and scored eight of Pitt's 11 points in the second overtime. Gibbs led four Panthers in double figures with 15 points. Brad Wanamaker (14), Gary McGhee (11) and Nasir Robinson (11) also reached double figure scoring. Pitt trailed by 13 points (33-20) at halftime. The 13-point halftime deficit ranked as the school's largest halftime margin overcome, surpassing two 12-point deficit games (vs. Duke on Dec. 20, 2008 and St. Francis, Pa. on Dec. 5, 1983).

 

Madison Square Garden is Pitt's home away from home. Since the 2000-01 season, Pitt has won two Big East Tournament titles, appeared in seven of the last nine Big East Tournament title games and amassed a 23-9 overall record in the arena. It has played in 32 games there since the 2000-01 season. Pitt appeared in the country's first-ever nationally televised basketball game at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 28, 1940, a 57-37 win vs. Fordham.

 

Pitt also has three New York area players on its roster: point guard Travon Woodall (Brooklyn), freshman center Dante Taylor (Greenburgh) and sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs (Scotch Plains, N.J.). Head Coach Jamie Dixon was born in New York City and spent time living in the city as a child.

 

Pitt is in 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 slate, 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 program 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 metatarsal in right foot) and redshirt junior Gilbert Brown (academic suspension) will not play. For a rundown on how much experience Pitt will have in the early going, please take a look at the chart on page 6.

 

Indiana and Pitt meet for the first time since the 2003 NCAA Tournament Second Round when the Panthers advanced to NCAA Sweet Sixteen play with a 74-52 win over the Hoosiers in Boston. Indiana (3-4) is coached by Tom Crean, the former Marquette head coach. The Hoosiers are led by Maurice Creek (16.7 ppg.), Christian Watford (12.6 ppg.) and Verdell Jones III (11.4 ppg.). Pitt has claimed 10 of its last 12 games against Big 10 opponents.

 

TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES

 

•Pitt plays in its second all-time Jimmy V Classic when it meets Indiana at Madison Square Garden. Pitt last competed in the Jimmy V Classic when it played Memphis on Dec. 7, 2004, a 70-51 win.

 

•Madison Square Garden has proved to be Pitt's home away from home as the Panthers have won two Big East titles (2003 and 2008), advanced to the Big East tournament title game in seven of the last nine seasons and amassed a 23-9 record at MSG since the 2000-01 season. Pitt has claimed 11 of its last 14 contests in the arena.

 

•Since 2001-02, Pitt has won 10 of its last 12 contests against Big 10 opponents.

 

•For the seventh straight game, Pitt will start five players who had a combined one career start prior to the season opener. Pitt remains 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 owns an 80-5 career record vs. non-conference opponents. He is 41-3 in games played in December.