Saturday , Feb , 25 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Pittsburgh hosts Providence in Big East action

(Sports Network) – With a first-round bye in the upcoming Big East
Tournament still up for grabs, the ninth-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers set
their sights on the Providence Friars this evening, from the Petersen Events
Center. The Panthers are 9-4 in league play with three games remaining.
The team is three games behind Villanova and two behind Connecticut, while
tied for third place with West Virginia. The Panthers come into this contest
having a brief three-game win streak snapped at Marquette last weekend,

The Friars are much further down the conference standings at 5-8 in league
play. The team has won three of its last five games however, including a
77-56 rout of South Florida on Tuesday. The Panthers hold a 24-16 edge in
the all-time series and are trying to complete a regular season sweep
after posting an 85-77 win at Providence 10 days ago.

Randall Hanke came off the bench to tally a game-high 22 points, as Providence
never trailed in its lopsided win over the Bulls this week. Hanke knocked down
8-of-12 shots from the floor and put up his impressive point total in just 23
minutes of action. Veteran guard Donnie McGrath had a solid game as well,
pouring in 20 points, on 6-of-13 shooting. The Friars shot just 40 percent
from the floor in the game, but held South Florida to a mere .328 shooting.

While not considered an offensive juggernaut, Providence still has the
personnel to win games at the offensive end of the floor. The team is shooting
a respectable .468 from the floor, resulting in 75.0 ppg. McGrath leads the
team in scoring with 15.6 ppg. Hanke and Sharaud Curry round out the double-
digit threats with 13.0 and 11.1 ppg, respectively.

It isn’t offense that has the Panthers among the top teams in the Big East
again this year. It’s once again stingy defense that defines this team, with
Pittsburgh allowing just 63.1 ppg, on .406 shooting. Offensively, Pittsburgh
is netting 74.1 ppg, led by the play of veteran guard Carl Krauser. The 6-2
senior is shooting .372 from behind the arc (51-of-137) and currently leads
the team in both scoring (15.8 ppg) and assists (107). Junior center Aaron
Gray provides balance with his dominance down low. The seven-footer is
averaging a double-double with 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per outing.

The Panthers cut into a double-digit deficit in the second half, but could not
get past Marquette on the road last weekend. Krauser once again led the
charge offensively, posting 18 points. Levance Fields came off the bench
with 14 points, while Gray added 10 points, while grabbing seven boards.