Delaware State (4-3) at (3) Pittsburgh (9-0)
Wednesday, December 8th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Petersen Events Center (12,500) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Delaware State 3-0, Pittsburgh 6-0. Away Record: Delaware State 1-3, Pittsburgh 0-0. Neutral Record: Delaware State 0-0, Pittsburgh 3-0. Conference Record: Delaware State 1-0, Pittsburgh 0-0. Series Record: Pittsburgh leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES:In what appears to be a monumental mismatch, the third-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers will host the Delaware Hornets in non-conference action this evening.
A member of the MEAC, Delaware State has put together back-to-back victories to improve to 4-3 overall. On Monday, the squad cruised past Maine on the road by a 75-56 final, but this evening's affair marks a major leap in competition level. While the Hornets have yet to face a team of Pittsburgh's caliber thus far, they have taken on major conference foes Maryland and South Carolina, and both of those affairs resulted in double-digit defeats.
A win tonight will give Pitt a perfect 10-0 start to its season for the seventh time in the last eight years, a tremendous accomplishment to say the least. In only his eighth season as the program's head coach, Jamie Dixon is quickly approaching the 200 career victory plateau. His Panthers were most recently in action on Saturday when they defeated Rider by an 87-68 final, and each of the last four victories have come by double figures.
Pittsburgh beat Delaware State by double figures in both previous meetings between the teams.
There are three double-digit scorers in the fold for Delaware State, and Casey Walker paces the trio with 14.3 ppg on the strength of his 44 percent shooting from three-point range. Desi Washington is close behind with 14.1 ppg, and his 42.9 percent accuracy from behind the arc is impressive as well. The club's leading rebounder, Marques Oliver, is netting 11.3 ppg to go along with 6.3 rpg. The Hornets are generating 68.7 ppg while limiting opponents to 59.6 ppg. In the 19-point romp over Maine two nights ago, Walker exploded for 25 points, as he nailed 6-of-10 shots from behind the arc. Jay Threatt tallied 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Delaware State, which got 12 points from Washington. Strong defense was key to the victory, as the Hornets held the Black Bears to 37 percent field goal efficiency.
Like Delaware State, Pittsburgh has played tremendous defense this season. Opponents are only generating 62.1 ppg against the Panthers on 40.3 percent shooting from the floor. At the offensive end, Pitt is scoring 82.8 ppg, thanks in large part to the efforts of Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker. Gibbs is pouring in 18.3 ppg on 49.1 percent shooting from the floor, including 46.1 percent from three-point range, while Wanamaker checks in with 13.3 ppg and a team-high 51 assists. In the easy win over Rider, both Gibbs and Wanamaker scored 16 points, and Wanamaker handed out 11 assists with zero turnovers, a brilliant performance by any standards. Dante Taylor pitched in 12 points off the bench, and Gilbert Brown tallied 11 points. As for Gary McGhee, he was able to rip down 10 rebounds. Pitt finished with 27 assists against only six turnovers and shot 53.4 percent from the floor. A 35-25 rebounding advantage and an 18-7 edge in points from the foul line helped matters as well.
Expect Pitt to have a victory in the bag by intermission. The Panthers, who figure to challenge for a Big East title, will dominate at both ends of the floor and cruise to their 10th win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pittsburgh 86, Delaware State 54
12/08 10:42:26 ET