Pitt's Talib Zanna dunks against Cincinnati.
Dec. 30, 2013
GAME 13: ALBANY (6-6, 0-0 America East) at PITT (11-1, 0-0 ACC)
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 1 p.m. ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN3 (Tim Neverett and Curtis Aiken; Producer: Bill Shissler).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-N/A (Pitt feed), XM-N/A (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 15th year at Pitt, 11th year as head coach (273-87); Albany: Will Brown, 12th year at Albany (172-191), 12th year overall (172-191).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-ARV; USA Today-ARV; Albany: AP-NR; USA Today-NR.
Series: Pitt and Albany meet for the third time in series history. Pitt owns a 2-0 record against Albany with wins coming on Nov. 28, 2003 (83-54) and Nov. 11, 2011 (89-56). Both contests were played at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt owns a 12-0 all-time record vs. America East opponents (Albany 2-0, Binghamton 1-0, Boston U. 1-0, Maine 1-0, UM-Baltimore County 2-0, New Hampshire 2-0, Vermont 3-0).
PITTSBURGH--Pitt (11-1) plays its final non-conference contest before it begins its inaugural season in the Atlantic Coast Conference when it hosts Albany (6-6) on Tuesday, Dec. 31 at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 1 p.m. ET.
The game will be televised on ESPN3 with Tim Neverett (play-by-play) and Curtis Aiken (color analysis) making the call. Bill Shissler will handle production.
Pitt has won its 11 games by an average of 18.8 points per game margin and 10 of its 11 by 17 points or more. Offensively, the Panthers are averaging 78.5 points per game, converting 48.3 percent (329-681) of field goals, 34.2 percent (64-187) of 3-point field goals and an amazing school-record pace of 75.6 percent (220-291) of free throw attempts. Pitt is also outrebounding its opponents by a sizable plus-10.2 margin. Defensively, Pitt is holding its opponents to 59.7 points per game and yielding a 40.2 percent (257-640) field goal percentage. Eleven of Pitt's 12 opponents have been held to 70 points or less.
Pitt is 8-0 at home this year, on a 10-game home win streak and 18-game consecutive win streak against non-conference opponents at home. Pitt also owns a 109-3 record vs. non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center and has won 130 of its last 134 home games against regular season non-conference opponents. Since the Petersen Events Center opened in 2002, Pitt owns a 54-2 record in November non-conference games and a 53-2 record in December games.
Prior to a nine-day holiday break, Pitt defeated Cal Poly 73-56 on Saturday, Dec. 21. In Pitt's 11th victory, senior Lamar Patterson led the Panthers with a career-high 30 points on 11-15 shooting and 4-7 3-point shooting. Patterson (999 points) finished the game just one point shy of 1,000 career points. He became the first Pitt player to score 30 points in a game since Sam Young last achieved the feat vs. Oklahoma State on March 22, 2009. Pitt also tied a school record by converting all 12 of its free throw attempts. Durand Johnson also added 12 points for Pitt.
On Dec. 17, Pitt dropped a one-point loss (44-43) to Cincinnati in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The loss concluded Pitt's 10-game win streak that ended tied for the 10th longest win streak in school history. Pitt's 10-0 start also ranked among Pitt's all-time best starts to a season. Cincinnati's Titus Rubles grabbed an offensive rebound and finished off a layup with four seconds to go to give the Bearcats the win. Pitt finished with just 11 field goals, its second lowest game output in school history. Talib Zanna (12 points) and Lamar Patterson (11 points) led Pitt.
Albany enters Tuesday's game with a 6-6 overall record following a 71-63 loss at Drake on Dec. 23. The Great Danes are led by Peter Hooley (14.5 ppg.), Sam Rowley (13.6 ppg.) and DJ Evans (11.3 ppg.).
Last year, Albany finished 24-11 overall, won the America East Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Under coach Will Brown, Albany has earned NCAA Tournament appearances in 2006, 2007 and 2013. Albany was picked to finish third in the America East's preseason poll.
TUESDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt has one more non-conference game remaining (Albany, Dec. 31) before ACC play begins on Jan. 4 at N.C. State.
On a 10-game home win streak, Pitt is in its 12th season at the Petersen Events Center and carries a 188-22 record (.895) in the arena. The Panthers have won 94 of their last 106 home games and 38 of their last 48 conference home games.
At 8-0 at home this year, Pitt owns a 109-3 record and .973 winning percentage vs. non-conference opponents in the PEC. On an 18-game non-conference home win streak, the Panthers have also won 130 of their last 134 home games against regular season non-conference home opponents.
When comparing ACC basketball programs over the last 13 years, Pitt ranks second among league programs in overall winning percentage (330-97, .773), league winning percentage (141-63, .691), homecourt winning percentage (.895) and NCAA Tournament appearances (11).