Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - A pivotal Big East Conference clash takes
place in the Steel City on Saturday, as the sixth-ranked Syracuse Orange
tangle with the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Syracuse is having another banner year, the team sporting an 18-2 overall
record and a 6-1 mark in conference play. The team has been idle since
suffering its first Big East loss last Saturday in overtime at Villanova
(75-71), and it was also the first setback for the Orange in five true road
games. Following this bout, SU will return home for a pair beginning with a
date against Notre Dame on Monday night.
Pittsburgh is enjoying a solid year of its own, the team logging a 17-5
overall record, although its league ledger leaves something to be desired at
just 5-4. A 64-61 loss at No. 12 Louisville this past Monday put an end to a
four-game win streak, and the team will be seeking its 13th home win in 15
opportunities today. The Panthers are 1-3 against ranked opponents this
season, but they are an amazing 12-1 versus top-10 foes at the Petersen Events
Center over the years.
Syracuse owns a 62-38 lead in the all-time series with Pittsburgh, but the
Panthers have won five of the last six meetings in their hometown.
This is the only scheduled encounter between the long-time rivals this season,
but the series will continue next year when both teams move to the ACC.
Brandon Triche scored 23 points and Michael Carter-Williams added 17 more, but
those efforts weren't enough to help Syracuse survive on the road last weekend
against Villanova, as the Orange fell by five points in overtime. Two others
scored in double figures for a SU team that shot just 33.3 percent from the
field but outscored the Wildcats at the foul line, 24-18. The Orange were
guilty of only seven turnovers in the game, but missed six of its eight shots
in the extra session. Triche continues to pace the club in scoring with his
14.9 ppg, while Carter-Williams is as well-rounded a performer as there in the
Big East as he averages 12.6 points and a whopping 8.9 assists per outing.
Fair nets 13.4 ppg and is the team's leading rebounder with 7.2 rpg.
Collectively, the Orange are putting up 77.1 ppg while permitting just 59.1
ppg. Foes find it difficult to convert from the floor (.359), with their 3-
point efforts falling well short of what anyone would consider respectable
(.285). The Orange also do a sensational job goading the opposition into
miscues, coming up with more than 17 turnovers per tilt.
Tray Woodall drained four 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 14 points, but
the Panthers couldn't muster much more in terms of offensive production in
their recent visit to Louisville. Lamar Patterson was the only other Panther
to reach double figures in the three-point setback, netting 10 points, and the
team as a whole made good on 43.9 percent of its total shots, which included
an 8-of-18 showing from beyond the arc. A 3-of-12 effort from the foul line
was horrific, and the Panthers were guilty of 15 turnovers. Pitt is averaging
72.4 ppg this season, but its top three scorers average between 10.2 and 11.2
ppg. Leading scorer Talib Zanna is a 54.1 percent shooter who also grabs 5.6
rpg, while Woodall hands out 5.7 apg and nets 10.7 ppg. Patterson (10.2 ppg,
3.9 rpg) and even Steven Adams (6.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 43 blocked shots) lend
support for a squad that knocks down 48.9 percent of its field goal attempts,
while holding the opposition to just 39.6 percent. Foes score a scant 54.9 ppg
against the Panthers, who also hold significant margins in both rebounding
(+8.0) and turnovers (+3.8).
The Sports Network