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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 20, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Petersen Events Center (12,508) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Lehigh 1-0, Pitt 3-0. Away Record: Lehigh 0-3, Pitt 0-0. Neutral Record: Lehigh 0-0, Pitt 0-0. Conference Record: Lehigh 0-0, Pitt 0-0. Series Record: Lehigh leads, 5-4.
GAME NOTES: The Pittsburgh Panthers will attempt to keep their perfect record intact, as they entertain the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Wednesday night as part of the Legends Classic.
Lehigh has had a rough start to the 2013-14 campaign, losing three of its first four games. All three setbacks have come on the road against Minnesota (81-62), Fordham (80-72) and Houston (80-66), while the lone victory came at home against Rider (92-78). The Mountain Hawks open Patriot League play at Colgate on Jan. 2, 2014.
Pittsburgh has dominated it first three opponents, all at home, whipping the likes of Savannah State (88-55), Fresno State (72-54) and Howard (84-52). The Panthers, who are playing their first season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, don't figure to be seriously tested until league play begins in early January.
Lehigh has won five of the previous nine meetings with Pittsburgh, although the Panthers feasted on the Mountain Hawks at home last season, 78-53.
Mackey McKnight scored 14 points and dished out seven assists, but the rest of the roster didn't do a whole lot as the Mountain Hawks fell at Houston last Sunday by double digits. Austin Price added 12 points and Tim Kempton had 11, but they went a combined 9-of-22 from the floor while joining forces to commit more than half of the team's turnovers. As a team, Lehigh made good on 42.9 percent of its field goal attempts, but went just 7-of-15 at the free-throw line. The squad allowed the Cougars to knock down 50 percent of their total shots, while also succumbing on the boards, 43-29.
Despite his team's poor start, McKnight has proven himself quite valuable in averaging 19.3 points and 6.0 assists per game. Price (13.8 ppg) and Kempton (11.5 ppg) have also been productive, as has Jesse Chuku (9.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg), but the team as a whole is giving up nearly 80 ppg while being outrebounded by 8.2 rpg.
Pittsburgh once again has a talented roster capable of stuffing the stat sheet and piling up the wins, and it all starts with Lamar Patterson. As one of only two seniors on the roster, Patterson is averaging 12.7 points and 6.0 assists per outing, and he is joined in double figures by fellow elder statesman Talib Zanna (11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, .692 FG percentage) and junior Cameron Wright (10.7 ppg, .500 FG percentage). Collectively, the Panthers are putting up 82.3 ppg while permitting only 53.7 ppg. The team is shooting 50.3 percent from the field, compared to 34.6 percent by the opposition, and it has dominated the glass to the tune of a +17 rebounding margin.
Patterson hit for 20 points and handed out four helpers in Pitt's recent rout of Howard, as the Panthers drained 58 percent of their field goal attempts, including 8-of-15 from 3-point range. Conversely, the Bison made good on only 36.2 percent of their total shots, while committing 18 turnovers.
Lehigh is sure to put forth maximum effort, but the Mountain Hawks simply lack the overall talent and depth needed to knock off a superior opponent on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pittsburgh 78, Lehigh 59
11/20 10:35:34 ET
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