Pitt impresses in first-round triumph over Kent
=== Pitt impresses in first-round triumph over Kent ===
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Aaron Gray led a balanced
Pittsburgh offense with 17 points on 6-of-6 shooting as the fifth-seeded
Panthers beat the No. 12 seed Kent State Golden Flashes, 79-64, in first-
round action in the Oakland Bracket of the NCAA Tournament.
Gray also pulled down 13 rebounds and had five blocks, while Ronald Ramon
also shot 6-of-6 from the floor for 16 points for the Panthers (25-7),
who will meet the No. 14 seed Bradley Braves on Sunday.
Sam Young added 12 points and Carl Krauser totaled 11 points and nine
assists in the win.
Kevin Warzynski led the Golden Flashes (25-9) with 15 points and Jay
Youngblood and Omni Smith each contributed 10 in the loss, Kent State’s second
in its last 11 games.
Pitt began the game 4-of-4 from the field and led 9-3 on Gray’s bucket in the
Warzynski’s free throw cut the deficit to 11-9, but the Panthers went on a
23-5 run, capped by Ramon’s jumper, to push the score to 34-14. The Golden
Flashes added fuel to the fire by sinking only one field goal over a six
Kent State countered with an 11-0 rally, including a pair of threes from
Armon Gates, to pull within 34-25. However, Pittsburgh scored six of the final
eight points and led 40-27 at the half.
The Golden Flashes opened the game shooting 4-of-18 but turned the half around
by hitting six of its last nine shots. The Panthers shot 68 percent from the
floor in the opening frame.
Pittsburgh started the final frame hitting 6-of-8 from the field and built a
56-31 advantage, courtesy of a 16-4 surge, highlighted by Levance Fields’ trey
with nearly 14 minutes to play.
Kent State posted its first field goal of the half on Isaac Knight’s dunk at
the 13:39 mark, which triggered a 20-7 burst, showcased by a pair of Smith
three-pointers, to make the score 63-51 with under seven minutes remaining.
Youngblood’s three brought Kent State within 71-60 with almost 3 1/2 minutes
on the clock but that was as close as it would get.
The Mid-American champions could not overcome the physical presence of Gray in
the paint on both ends of the floor.
Pittsburgh connected on 67 percent of its shots, while the Golden Flashes shot
39 percent from the floor…Fields finished with 10 points…The Panthers had
18 assists on 31 field goals… The last time these two teams met Kent State
beat Pitt, 78-73, in the Sweet 16 of the 2002 NCAA Tournament…Pittsburgh
scored 34 points in the paint.