U-M-B-C (5-3) at (3) Pittsburgh (9-0)
Saturday, December 13th, 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: FSN. Home Record: UMBC 3-1, Pitt 7-0. Away Record: UMBC 1-2, Pitt 0-0. Neutral Record: UMBC 1-0, Pitt 2-0. Conference Record: UMBC 0-0, Pitt 0-0. Series Record: Pittsburgh leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The third-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers will play host to the overmatched UMBC Retrievers in non-league action tonight.
UMBC is fresh off a 67-56 victory over Central Connecticut State on Wednesday. The Retrievers are now 5-3 on the season, but the club has yet to face a ranked team or even a team from a major conference. Last week, UMBC lost at home to Towson by 17 points, so it is easy to understand why the team is an enormous underdog on the road here.
Pittsburgh is aiming for its sixth straight 10-0 start to a season, and the program is 63-1 versus non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers were most recently in action last Saturday when they stomped Vermont in an 80-51 final. They have yet to even be challenged this season, as all nine victories have come by at least 13 points.
Pitt won its only previous meeting with UMBC and is 8-0 all-time versus American East Conference opponents.
Only six players for UMBC saw action in the 11-point win over Central Connecticut State on Wednesday. The Retrievers got 17 points from Darryl Proctor, who shot 6-of-11 from the floor and pulled down 10 rebounds. Justin Fry tallied 16 points, and Jay Greene contributed 14. A 15-4 edge in points from the foul line certainly helped the cause for the Retrievers, who only turned the ball over eight times. They also hit the same number of shots from the floor as the opposition despite 14 fewer attempts. Proctor is a force for UMBC, as he is averaging 17.9 ppg and 9.3 rpg through eight outings. Greene has also been outstanding this season, as he is netting 13.4 ppg in addition to handing out 7.1 apg. Rounding out a trio of double-digit scorers is Rich Flemming with 10.4 ppg.
Pittsburgh struggled a bit at the offensive end against Vermont last time out, as the team shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and missed 11 of 25 free throws. Fortunately, the Panthers played brilliant defense as usual, limiting the Catamounts to 27.4 percent shooting while forcing 17 turnovers. Sam Young racked up 28 points and nine rebounds in the win, while frontcourt mate DeJaun Blair tallied 13 points and 16 rebounds. Ashton Gibbs pitched in 11 points off the bench, and Tyrell Biggs contributed 10 points. A 59-41 rebounding advantage clearly helped the cause for Pitt, which is posting 78.8 ppg this season while limiting foes to a mere 57.2 ppg on 35.1 percent shooting. The team is ripping down over 10 more boards per contest than the opposition, and Blair has been a monster on the glass. Young is scoring 20.8 ppg on 52.6 percent shooting from the floor, and Blair adds 14.9 ppg and 13.4 rpg to the mix. As for Levance Fields, the team's outstanding point guard, he has dished out 63 assists while pitching in with 11.0 ppg.
Clearly, Pittsburgh should have this game in the bag by intermission. There is no player on the UMBC roster capable of containing Young or Blair.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pittsburgh 84, UMBC 56
12/13 10:22:57 ET