Detroit (2-3) at Pittsburgh (6-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Petersen Events Center (12,508) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Detroit 2-0, Pitt 5-0. Away Record: Detroit 0-3, Pitt 0-0. Neutral Record: Detroit 0-0, Pitt 1-1. Conference Record: Detroit 0-0, Pitt 0-0. Series Record: Detroit leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Pittsburgh Panthers will try for their third straight win while the Detroit Titans attempt to avoid their third straight loss when the teams meet at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday night.
It has been a tale of two seasons for Detroit in the early going, as it is unbeaten at home yet it has lost all three of its games on the road. The Titans have dropped their last two tilts at Miami-Florda (77-62) and Bowling Green (70-65).
Pittsburgh has taken care of business on the young season with wins in six of its first seven bouts, its only loss coming on a neutral floor in the NIT Season-Tip Off against No. 4 Michigan on Nov. 21, 67-62. Since then, the Panthers have responded with convincing wins over Delaware (85-59) and Howard (70-46) to extend their record at home to 5-0.
These two teams have met just once before, with Detroit winning, 86-60, in the 1969 Motor City Classic.
Detroit is averaging an impressive 74.8 ppg, but it is doing so on just over 40 percent field goal shooting. It tends to live and die by the three-pointer, as it drains eight long-range buckets per game, but at only a 31 percent clip. The last time out against Bowling Green was an example of the Titans' three- point tendencies coming back to bite them, as they made just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc in the five-point loss. Despite the shooting struggles, Ray McCallum was able to rise up and keep his team in the game, scoring a season- high 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field, while also adding seven rebounds and two blocked shots. Nick Minnerath scored 17 points and Doug Anderson chipped in 10 points, but the duo combined to make just 1-of-8 from three-point range. On the season, McCallum has been one of the best scorers in the nation with 20.6 ppg on 50 percent from the field, and he also pitches in elsewhere with 4.2 rpg, 3.8 apg, and 2.0 spg. Doug Anderson (14.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and Minnerath (13.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) are off to strong starts in the frontcourt, and although Jason Calliste shoots a low 31.4 percent from the field, he still nets 10.8 ppg.
Pitt has achieved the rare task of making more field goals than it has missed through seven games, sporting a lofty shooting percentage of .513. Things didn't quite go as smoothly in the matchup with Howard, making 44.1 percent of its shots overall, but it managed to drill eight three-pointers and force Howard into 17 turnovers as it cruised to an easy 24-point victory. Lamar Patterson drained five of those treys on eight attempts for 15 points, and Tray Woodall also tallied 15 points, although his night from beyond the arc wasn't nearly as efficient (1-of-6). James Robinson logged 11 points and dished out eight assists. Talib Zanna scored 12 points, and he's the Panthers' leading scorer on the season with 13.3 ppg (on greater than 68 percent from the field), and his 6.0 rpg is also a team-high. Tray Woodall has ran the point very well with 12.7 ppg and 6.0 apg while turning the ball over just over two times per contest. J.J. Moore (11.3 ppg) has knocked down his share of open jumpers thus far, and the multi-dimensional Patterson records 7.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.0 apg, and 1.3 spg.
Detroit has the potential to explode offensively any day now, but with the inconsistency it has shown, that isn't likely to happen on the road against a formidable opponent. Pitt will continue its sound play of late in what's bound to be another double-digit victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pittsburgh 81, Detroit 70
12/01 10:35:43 ET