Saturday , Dec , 30 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Panthers host Rattlers in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – The 10th-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers are
heavily favored in tonight’s non-conference clash with the Florida A&M
Rattlers.

With wins in five of its last six games, Florida A&M has managed to even its
overall record at 6-6. The Rattlers barely held on for a 66-65 decision
over North Florida last time out, and they have been idle for well over a
week heading into this clash. Florida A&M took on defending national champion
Florida two weeks ago, and the result was a 15-point setback.

Pittsburgh opened the season with 10 consecutive wins before dropping back-
to-back decisions to Wisconsin and Oklahoma State, a pair of nationally-
ranked foes. Fortunately, the Panthers were able to get back on track with
an 84-54 romp over Dayton last Saturday, and they are now a perfect 8-0 at
home.

This game marks the first-ever meeting between Florida A&M and Pittsburgh on
the hardwood.

Florida A&M put forth an embarrassing 11-of-27 effort from the foul line
against North Florida last time out, but an 11-of-22 showing from three-point
range enabled the squad to hold on for a victory. Strong defense certainly
helped the cause, as the Rattlers limited North Florida to 38.8 percent
shooting from the floor. Leading the way in the win was Leslie Robinson, as he
nailed 7-of-11 three-pointers en route to 21 points off the bench. Brian
Greene pitched in 10 points and nine rebounds for the Rattlers, who are
averaging 68.5 ppg while surrendering 74.6 ppg to their opponents. Rome
Sanders is the top offensive performer for Florida A&M, as he is netting 14.9
ppg. Greene adds 12.1 ppg and 8.0 rpg to the mix, while Robinson is
contributing 11.9 ppg.

Pittsburgh possesses one of the truly elite centers in the nation, as Aaron
Gray is a force both as a scorer (16.5 ppg) and a rebounder (10.8 rpg). Mike
Cook adds some balance to the lineup with 11.8 ppg, and Antonio Graves is
contributing 10.5 ppg. The Panthers are netting 77.1 ppg on 51.0 percent
shooting from the floor, and they are limiting opponents to 64.5 ppg on 40.2
percent shooting. Against Dayton last time out, Sam Young paced Pittsburgh
with 18 points off the bench. Levance Fields pitched in 16 points for the
Panthers, who shot 56.5 percent from the floor while limiting the Flyers to
33.3 percent. Gray managed only five points in that contest, but he did pull
down 15 rebounds in 23 minutes.

FLAAM PITT