Panthers expected to maul Terriers
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – While it doesn’t measure up to the Backyard
Brawl that was played at Heinz Field last night, the pressure is still on
Pittsburgh today as the fifth-ranked team in the land welcomes the
Northeastern Huskies to the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers opened the
2006-07 campaign with an 86-67 win over Western Michigan in West Point as
part of the Maggie Dixon Classic, and then followed that up with a 67-50 win
against Delaware State at home on Tuesday night.
As for the Huskies, they began play this year with another nationally-ranked
Big East program in Syracuse and fell to the mighty Orange in front of more
than 19,000 fans at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night, allowing Syracuse
to move out to a 4-0 start on the campaign.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the
hardwood, this is the first-ever meeting.
Shooting just 4-of-15 from three-point range, Northeastern found itself
trailing at the break against the Orange a couple nights ago by a score of
41-33. If the Huskies thought that was bad, they need only take a look at
their stats from the second half of the contest when they made a mere eight
field goals in all and continued to struggle from beyond the arc (5-of-17).
Matt Janning tried to keep the team close in the blowout loss, but his 4-of-11
shooting from three-point range did not help matters, although he did finish
with a team-best 16 points. Adrian Martinez added 13 points, six assists and
four rebounds, while Bennet Davis was responsible for 12 points and five
boards. Starting guard Bobby Kelly was much less of a factor as he shot only
1-of-7 from the field and missed all six of his three-point tries while coming
away with just two points, to go along with six assists, five rebounds, three
steals and four miscues on the night.
Delaware State scored the first points of the game against the Panthers on
Tuesday night, but from there the Hornets posted no threat as Pittsburgh grew
a lead as great as 19 points before settling on the 17-point decision as home.
The Preseason All-Big East Player of the Year, Aaron Gray did not disappoint
as he collected 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in the first half, but then
played only 12 minutes after the break and finished with 17 points and eight
boards in the lopsided win. Mike Cook added 13 points, while Levon Kendall and
Antonio Graves chipped in 10 apiece. After two games Gray is averaging 13.5
ppg and 10.5 rpg, shooting 57.1 percent from the field. However, early on it
looks like Cook is going to have a monster year based on the fact that he’s
averaging 15 ppg, shooting 63.2 percent from the floor and has played just 44
minutes total through the first two games. Levance Field has put his own
scoring on hold (3.0 ppg) in order to hand out 17 assists, while having only
four turnovers in those first two games.