Oakland (1-2) at Pittsburgh (3-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Petersen Events Center (12,508) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: Pitt Panthers TV, SNY. Home Record: Oakland 1-0, Pitt 0-0. Away Record: Oakland 0-2, Pitt 0-0. Neutral Record: Oakland 0-0, Pitt 0-0. Conference Record: Oakland 0-0, Pitt 0-0. Series Record: Pittsburgh leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The Pittsburgh Panthers will try to remain unbeaten on the young season when they tangle with the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in a non-conference bout on Saturday evening at the Petersen Events Center in the Steel City.
Oakland saw its record fall to 1-2 when it was defeated by Boise State on Tuesday, 88-80. The Golden Grizzlies played well offensively versus the Broncos as four players scored in double figures, and the team made 51.9 percent of its field goal attempts. However, the Grizzlies lost by eight points after they were unable to keep Boise State from converting 21-of-25 attempts at the charity stripe. The loss was the second in a row for the club, which opened its season with a 96-62 rout of Albion. It it clear that coach Greg Kampe's run-and-gun style is going to lead to some high-scoring affairs. In its two losses, Oakland is giving up an average of 89 ppg.
Unlike last season when it got off to a disappointing start, which featured an unimpressive eight-point win over Rider and a 10-point home loss to Long Beach State, Pittsburgh has returned to its role of Goliath here in 2012-13. The Panthers improved to 3-0 on Tuesday with a convincing 78-53 win over the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Coach Jamie Dixon's team notched wins over Mount St. Mary's (80-48) and Fordham (86-51) prior to downing the defending Patriot League Tournament champions. Dixon is now in his 10th year as the Panthers' head coach and he has compiled a 241-77 record during that span.
This will be just the fourth meeting in history between these two schools on the hardwood. The most recent encounter took place on March 21, 2010 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Pitt handled Oakland for an 89-66 victory in that game to increase its all-time series lead to 3-0.
The Golden Grizzlies have an array of scorers, with four different players carrying double-digit scoring averages into this contest. Duke Mondy has been stellar in his first season with the team after transferring from Providence at the end of the 2010-11 campaign. The junior guard is pacing the team with 19.3 ppg after scoring 51 total points in his past two outings. Corey Patros stepped up in Oakland's loss to Boise State by producing a double-double consisting of 17 points and 12 rebounds. The 6-foot-10 sophomore center averages a team-best 6.3 boards to go along with 13.7 ppg, while Travis Bader (18.8 ppg) and Drew Valentine (14.7 ppg) have proven themselves as viable scoring threats as well. The Grizzlies have very little help coming off their bench, as Ryan Bass (11 points) was the only reserve to play 10 minutes or more the last time out.
Pitt's early success is due in large part to its senior floor general, Tray Woodall. The Brooklyn native has produced 16.3 points and 6.7 assists per game through three games this season. Woodall build a reputation as a pass-first point guard during his first three seasons as a Panther, but he turned some heads by outscoring Lehigh's net-scorching C.J. McCollum by six points the last time out. Woodall's assist numbers are not in danger however, as he is surrounded by a handful of capable offensive players. Talib Zanna is second on the team with a 16.0 ppg average after tying his career-high with 20 points his last time out. Junior forward J.J. Moore showed he can fill it up by netting 20 points in the team's win over Fordham. Freshman center Steven Adams has been a force in the middle with 2.3 blocks per game. The New Zealand import's imposing size has already made him one of the top NBA prospects just three games into his collegiate career.
The Panthers are clearly playing with a chip on their shoulder after missing last year's Big Dance. Dixon added some nice pieces in Adams and Trey Zeigler, who have not even shown off their full arsenal yet. Pitt is only going to get better as the season progresses. While Oakland has a few scoring options itself, the Golden Grizzlies will have trouble with the Panthers' deadly combination of discipline and athleticism.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pittsburgh 82, Oakland 63
11/17 10:33:05 ET
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