Dec. 11, 2009
GAME 10: KENT STATE (5-3, 0-0 Mid-American) at PITT (7-2, 0-0 Big East)
Saturday, December 12, 2009 2 p.m. ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN-U (Lou Canellis and Bob Wenzel; Producer: John Wilson).
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken) 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). 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 (170-47); Kent State: Geno Ford, 2nd year at KSU (24-18), 5th year overall (75-50).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-ARV; ESPN-NR, Kent State: not ranked.
Series: Pitt and Kent State meet for the 17th time in series history. The series is tied at 8-8. Pitt owns a 33-26 all-time record against Mid-American Conference opponents. The last time Kent State and Pitt met was in the 2006 NCAA Tournament First Round, a 79-64 win in Auburn Hills, Mich.
PITTSBURGH--Pitt (7-2) returns home for its 10th game of the season when it hosts Kent State (5-3) on Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. ET.
The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN-U with Lou Canellis (play-by-play) and Bob Wenzel (analysis) making the call. John Wilson will produce.
Following a 74-64 loss to Indiana in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday, Pitt enters its 10th game of the 2009-10 season with a 7-2 record.
Pitt enters the game with a 31-9 record under Jamie Dixon after losing a contest. The Panthers have not lost back-to-back games since 2008 when they dropped consecutive games to Notre Dame and Louisville. In addition, Dixon owns an 80-6 all-time record vs. non-conference competition and is 104-10 in home games.
Pitt battled back but could not overcome a 17-point second half deficit. Indiana used two 7-0 runs in the second half to build its lead. Pitt trimmed the deficit to six points but could not get any closer. Ashton Gibbs finished with a career-high 25 points, Brad Wanamaker scored 18 points and Dante Taylor finished with 12 points for the Panthers. Senior guard Jermaine Dixon made his first appearance for the Panthers after being sidelined for the first eight games while recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot.
Pitt is in the midst of its 103rd basketball campaign and 2009-10 season after it amassed 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 made his return vs. Indiana after sitting out the first eight games recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot. 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.
Kent State enters the game with a 5-3 record after losing a 77-61 contest at Xavier on Dec. 4. The game marks the Golden Flashes' first action in 11 days. Pitt and Kent State last met in the 2006 NCAA Tournament First Round in Auburn Hills, Mich., a 79-64 win on March 17, 2006. Pitt tied a school record with a .674 field goal percentage (31-46) in that contest. The previous matchup between the two schools was on March 21, 2002, a 78-73 overtime win for Kent State in the NCAA Regional played in Lexington, Ky. The series is deadlocked at 8-8 overall. Kent State is led by a trio of double figure scorers including guards Rodriguez Sherman (13.1 ppg.) and Tyree Evans (10.6 ppg.) along with forward Justin Greene (12.1 ppg.).
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center with a 120-10 all-time record and .923 winning percentage. The .923 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 71-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center and has claimed 92 of its last 93 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.
At home, Pitt is currently riding a 26-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 26-game home win streak ranks as the nation's third longest streak behind Kansas (45) and Utah State (35).
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 120-10 record (.923 winning percentage) in the arena. Pitt owns a 71-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt has won 26 straight home games, a streak which ranks third among the school's all-time longest home win streaks. It ranks as the nation's third longest home win streak.
Pitt is also riding a school record tying 43-game win streak against non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. It needs a win vs. Kent State to set the school record with its 44th consecutive home win vs. non-conference opponents.
For the 10th consecutive game, Pitt will start five players who had a combined one career start prior to the season opener. Jermaine Dixon saw his first action vs. Indiana since suffering a broken right foot. Gilbert Brown is serving an academic suspension and should be back December 22.
In games played after losing a contest, Jamie Dixon's all-time record is 31-9.