Pittsburgh, PA – The ninth-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers put a game home win streak against non-conference foes on the line when they opening four-game homestand this evening, taking on the Long Beach State 49ers at the Petersen Events Center.
The Panthers were one of the nation's best last season, going 28-6 overall. They have gotten off to another fast start, winning a pair of home games against Albany (89-56) and Rider (86-78). Pittsburgh will close out its homestand on November 22nd against La Salle.
The 49ers were a strong mid-major program in 2010-11, racking up 22 total win. LBSU opened this season with a hard-fought 69-61 victory over Idaho on Saturday. Following this game, the 49ers will return to California to take on San Diego State.
This is the first time these two teams have met on the hardwood.
The 49ers struggled to find their shot in the first half against the Vandals over the weekend, converting just 34.5 percent from the floor and trailing Idaho by two points at the half. LBSU turned it up a notch after the break however, shooting 51.6 percent over the final 20 minutes to earn the eight- point win. Four starters finished in double figures in the win, led by Casper Ware's 20 points. Fellow guard Larry Anderson poured in 16 points, while forwards Eugene Phelps and T.J. Robinson chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Robinson completed a double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds. Ware is the unquestioned leader after averaging a hefty 17.2 ppg last year, being named the Big West Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, the first player in conference history to win both awards in the same season.
After routing Albany in the opener, the Panthers had to earn their win over Rider, using a 14-5 run over the final five minutes to seal the victory. Ashton Gibbs erupted for 24 points, while hitting six three-pointers. Nasir Robinson poured in 22 points, while Tray Woodall finished with 17 points and 10 assists. Pittsburgh shot an even 50 percent from the floor and dominated Rider on the boards, 43-19. Woodall has recorded a double-double in each of the first two games and is shooting .577 from the floor. His emergence alongside Gibbs gives the Panthers a lethal backcourt tandem. Gibbs is the Big East Preseason Player of the Year.