Saturday , Jan , 27 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Red Storm seek upset in Steel City

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – The St. John’s Red Storm are coming off a
big-time win over a league opponent, and they will attempt to score a Big
East upset on the road today against the ninth-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers.

St. John’s has recorded back-to-back wins to move to 12-8 overall and 3-4 in
league play. After beating Syracuse last weekend, the Red Storm came up
with a thrilling 71-68 triumph over nationally-ranked Notre Dame on
Tuesday. Still, it has to be mentioned that the squad is just 1-3 in true
road games.

Pittsburgh has won eight of its last nine games to move to 18-3 overall
and 6-1 in conference action. The Panthers recorded a 67-51 decision over
Cincinnati on Wednesday, and of the three losses the team has suffered
this season, two have come in overtime. While St. John’s has struggled on the
road, Pitt is a stellar 12-1 at home.

St. John’s owns a 33-16 lead in the all-time series with Pittsburgh, and
the Red Storm won last season’s meeting by a 55-50 final.

St. John’s got a tremendous effort from Lamont Hamilton in the win over
Notre Dame on Tuesday, as he scored 23 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to
lead all players in both categories. Teammate Eugene Lawrence finished with
13 points and seven assists, but he did commit 10 of the team’s 19
turnovers. The third and final double-digit scorer in the victory was Larry
Wright, as he finished with 11 points. The Red Storm limited the Fighting
Irish to 35.5 percent shooting from the floor, and the strong defense was
clearly the key to the team’s success. Hamilton is averaging 13.5 ppg and
7.2 rpg this season, and Avery Patterson checks in with 11.9 ppg. As
for Anthony Mason, he is contributing 11.0 ppg. Lawrence has dished out
105 assists and also leads the club with 36 steals.

Pittsburgh is scoring 74.2 ppg this season on 49.7 percent shooting from
the floor, including 40.8 percent from three-point range. Defensively, the
Panthers are limiting foes to 62.0 ppg on 40.2 percent shooting while
outrebounding team by six boards per outing. Aaron Gray continues to lead
Pitt with 14.8 ppg and 10.2 rpg, and he has blocked 34 shots as well while
shooting 57.9 percent from the field. Mike Cook is a steady contributor who
adds 11.4 ppg to the lineup, and Antonio Graves checks in with 10.3 ppg. The
Panthers have featured the same starting lineup in all 21 games, an
obvious key to their success. Levance Fields scored 18 points to lead Pitt
in the recent win over Cincinnati, while Ronald Ramon and Sam Young tallied
10 points each. The Panthers connected on 60.5 percent of their field goal
attempts in that contest, including a 12-of-19 showing from three-point range.