Pittsburgh, PA – The 15th-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers are set for what certainly appears to be a mismatch with the South Carolina State Bulldogs.
SC State carries a four-game losing streak into this affair and has been idle since last Saturday's 87-57 beating at the hands of Gardner Webb. Considering the fact that Bulldogs have also lost by double figures to the likes of Longwood, Norfolk State and Georgia State, it is hard to imagine that they will be competitive with the mighty Panthers. SC State is a member of the MEAC and has lost its only league tilt to date.
As for Pitt, it is riding a seven-game win streak and enters this affair with a 9-1 record, the 10th time in the last 11 years that the program has won at least nine of its first 10 outings. The Panthers are coming off a 74-68 win over Oklahoma State last Saturday at Madison Square Garden. They continue to prepare for the start of Big East Conference play on December 27.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs on the hardwood.
The Bulldogs are generating a modest 66.3 ppg this season on just 40.3 percent shooting from the field, and they are permitting 76.0 ppg to opponents. Clearly, the go-to guy at the offensive end of the court for SC State is Brandon Riley, as he is netting 20.9 ppg through the seven contests that he has participated in. Khalif Toombs, the only player on the roster that has started all 10 games, is posting 11.6 ppg to go along with 3.8 apg, and Omar Sanders rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 11.4 ppg. Joe Ikhinmwin scored 14 points off the bench for SC State in the 30-point loss to Gardner- Webb last time out, and Toombs netted 13 points in that affair. Riley was held to nine points, and he committed five of the club's 19 turnovers. While the Bulldogs shot just 37.7 percent from the field they permitted the opposition to hit 54 percent of its attempts.
In the six-point victory over Oklahoma State last time out, Pitt shot 53.1 percent from the field and earned a 43-25 rebounding advantage, the two most obvious contributing factors in the win. Ashton Gibbs led the charge as usual at the offensive end with 17 points, while Nasir Robinson was close behind with 15 points. Lamar Patterson pitched in 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, proof of his tremendous versatility. Overall this season, the Panthers average 79.5 ppg on 50.1 percent field goal efficiency, including 43.7 percent from behind the arc. Gibbs nets 18.7 ppg, and while Tray Woodall is listed as the second-leading scorer on the roster with 14.1 ppg and tops with 8.4 apg, he is out indefinitely with a groin injury. Robinson provides 14.0 ppg and 6.2 rpg for the Panthers, who are outrebounding foes by 13.0 rpg and holding opponents to 68.1 ppg.