Dec. 22, 2011
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GAME 13: WAGNER (7-3, 1-1 NEC) at #15 PITT (11-1, 0-0 Big East)
Friday, December 23, 2011 8 p.m. ET Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPNU (Adam Amin and Tim Welsh; Producer: John Kettering).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG College Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat, Curtis Aiken) 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-128; XM-191 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 13th year at Pitt, 9th year as head coach (227-61); Wagner: Dan Hurley, 2nd year at Wagner (20-18), 2nd year overall (20-18).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-15; ESPN-13; Wagner: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.
Series: Pitt and Wagner meet for the second time in series history. Pitt is 1-0 vs. Wagner after defeating the Seahawks, 87-61, on March 21, 2003 in an NCAA Tournament First Round game played in Boston, Mass. Pitt also plays its 71st game against a Northeast Conference opponent as the Panthers own a 70-0 all-time record vs. NEC foes. Wagner represents Pitt's final NEC opponent this season as the Panthers defeated both Robert Morris (Nov. 27) and St. Francis, Pa. (Dec. 20).
PITTSBURGH--No. 15 ranked and defending Big East regular season champion Pitt (11-1) hosts Wagner on Friday, Dec. 23. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. ET at the Petersen Events Center. The Wagner game marks the third of three home non-conference games-South Carolina State (Dec. 17), SFU (Dec. 20) and Wagner (Dec. 23)- before the Panthers begin Big East Conference play at Notre Dame on Dec. 27.
Friday's contest will be nationally televised on ESPNU with Adam Amin and Tim Welsh calling action. John Kettering will manage production.
On a nine-game win streak, Pitt enters its 13th and final non-conference game with an 11-1 record. For the 12th consecutive season, Pitt begins its year with a 10-2 record or better. The 11-1 start ranks among Pitt's all-time best starts in school history. Over the last 11 seasons, Pitt has begun a season undefeated at 12-0 three different times: 2003-04, 2005-06, and 2008-09.
Pitt improved to 11-1 with a 71-47 home win over St. Francis, Pa. on Tuesday. Pitt jumped out to leads of 13-0, 19-2 and then 27-4 en route to the win. Pitt outrebounded SFU 42-21 and outscored the Red Flash 44-16 in the paint. Three Panthers reached double figure scoring including J.J. Moore (15 points), Dante Taylor (14 points, eight rebounds) and Lamar Patterson (11 points).
Pitt's win over South Carolina State gave Pitt 10 non-conference wins for the 11th straight year. In the previous 12 seasons (1988-2001), Pitt failed to win 10 non-conference games at least one time. Three Panthers, led by Lamar Patterson (16 points), Ashton Gibbs (14 points) and Talib Zanna (12 points/14 rebounds), reached double figure scoring in the game. Pitt outscored South Carolina State 36-18 in the paint and outrebounded the Bulldogs 41-29. Pitt also shot 49.1 percent (28-57) from the floor.
Fueled by two road wins (at Tennessee, at Penn) and a neutral site victory (Oklahoma State), Pitt ranks among the nation's top-70 in the ratings percentage index, according to realtimerpi.com. That is a typical ranking for Pitt at this point in the season.
FRIDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt leads the nation in rebound margin. It has registered a plus-20.0 rebound margin combining each of the last four games.
Pitt is in its 10th season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 156-13 record (.923) in the arena. Pitt also owns a 91-2 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers have won 62 of their last 65 home games.
Pitt has won 63 of its last 64 games and 112 of its last 114 home games against non-conference opponents.
Over the last 10 seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning percentage (284-72, .798), league winning percentage (124-44, .740), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (10) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (10).
Pitt is one of only three programs nationally to win more than 20+ games, 10+ league games and advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 10 seasons (Gonzaga, Kansas and Pitt).