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Men's Basketball Opens Big East Play on Monday vs. DePaul




Dec. 27, 2009

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GAME 13: DePAUL (7-5, 0-0 Big East) at PITT (10-2, 0-0 Big East)

 

Monday, December 28, 2009 • 7 p.m. ET

Petersen Events Center (12,508) • Pittsburgh, Pa.

 

MEDIA INFORMATION


 

 

Television: ESPN-U (Clay Matvick and Bob Wenzel; Producer: Andy Kulis).

Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970-AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Channel 122 (Pitt feed).

 

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

The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 11th year at Pitt, 7th year as head coach (173-47); DePaul: Jerry Wainwright, 5th year at DePaul (59-77), 16th year overall (245-221).

 

Rankings: Pitt: AP-ARV; ESPN-NR; DePaul: not ranked.

Series: Pitt and DePaul meet for the seventh time in series history. Pitt holds a 5-1 all-time record vs. the Blue Demons including wins in each of the last five matchups. Pitt is 5-0 vs. DePaul since the Blue Demons joined the Big East Conference in 2005-06.

 

GAME PREVIEW

 

PITTSBURGH--Pitt (10-2) opens Big East Conference play when it hosts DePaul (7-5) on Monday, Dec. 28 at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET.

 

The contest will be nationally televised on  ESPN-U. Clay Matvick (play-by-play) and Bob Wenzel (color analyst) will handle announcing duties while Andy Kulis will produce.

 

A win against DePaul would give Jamie Dixon his 174th career victory. He would pull into a second place tie on Pitt's all-time coaching victories list with Bob Timmons (174-189 wins from 1953-68). H.C. Carlson, who comprised a 367-247 record from 1922-53, is the school's all-time winningest coach.

 

Even though it plays one more non-conference game (vs. Robert Morris on Feb. 8), Pitt concluded its non-conference portion of its schedule with 10 wins for the ninth consecutive season.

 

Pitt also enters the contest with the nation's second longest home win streak (29 games) and a 46-game win streak against non-conference opponents at home. It owns a 49-9 record vs. Big East opponents at the Petersen Events Center.

 

Pitt has won three straight contests and five of its last six games including a 74-49 win on Tuesday against Ohio. The Ohio victory was significant because Pitt had its entire team intact for the first time this year. Gilbert Brown returned from academic suspension to score 11 points off the bench and Jermaine Dixon played his best game yet with a 14-point, six-rebound, six-assist performance. Ashton Gibbs led the Panthers with 15 points and Nasir Robinson added 10 as Pitt held Ohio to 27.9 percent field goal shooting (17-71), the second-lowest total in the Jamie Dixon Era.

 

Pitt claimed a 66-48 win on Dec. 19 against Mount St. Mary's, Md. Brad Wanamaker led the way with a career-high 20 points and Gibbs finished with 19 in the win. Dixon made his first start of the season. The Panthers held the Mountaineers to 31.6 percent (18-57) field goal shooting including 29.6 percent in the first half.

 

Tuesday's game against Ohio marked the return of junior forward Gilbert Brown from academic suspension. The game also marked the first time that both Brown and Dixon, Pitt's two most experienced players, appeared on the court this year. Dixon sat out the season's first eight games after suffering a broken right foot in August. Pitt returned just one starter (Dixon) and six letterwinners from its 2008-09 squad. Through its first 10 games, Pitt started five players that had accumulated just one previous career start. Dixon made his return vs. Indiana after sitting out the first eight games while recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot. For a rundown on how much experience Pitt had in the early going, please take a look at the chart on page 6.

 

DePaul enters the Big East portion of its season with a 7-5 record and after losing four of its last six games. Coached by Jerry Wainwright, DePaul is led by Mac Koshwal (15.3 ppg./13.0 rpg.) and Will Walker (16.5 ppg.).

 

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 is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center with a 123-10 all-time record and .925 winning percentage. The .925 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 74-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center and has claimed 95 of its last 96 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.

 

At home, Pitt is currently riding a 29-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 29-game home win streak ranks as the nation's second longest streak behind Kansas (48).

 

Over the last eight years, Pitt has proven to be the winningest Big East Conference basketball program. From 2001-09, Pitt owns the league's top record in overall games (230-58) and in league games (96-36). It has averaged 12.0 league wins and 27.5 overall wins per year during that period. Pitt is the only Big East Conference school to win 20 or more overall games and 10 or more league contests in each of the last eight seasons.

 

TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES

 

•Pitt begins Big East play against DePaul after winning 10 non-conference games for the ninth consecutive season.

 

•Finally, Pitt has its entire team intact. Jermaine Dixon (right foot injury) and Gilbert Brown (academic suspension) both returned to the floor for the first time against Ohio. Dixon had his most productive game with 14 points, six rebounds and six assists. Brown, who returned to practice on Sunday, Dec. 20, scored 11 points on 4-4 shooting. Pitt played its first 10 games with a starting five who had a combined one career start prior to the season opener.

 

•Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 123-10 overall record (.925 winning percentage) and 49-9 record vs. Big East opponents in the arena.

 

•Pitt has won 29 straight home games, a streak which ranks as the nation's second longest current win streak (Kansas, 49). It also ranks second among the school's all-time longest home win streaks.

 

•A win vs. DePaul would place Jamie Dixon into a second place tie on Pitt's all-time coaching victories list with 174.