Pittsburgh at Texas 11-24-09

November 24, 2009


Texas is already playing like a team expected to reach the Final Four. The Longhorns are 3-0, outscoring their opponents 247 to 143. Tonight’s contest against Pittsburgh will be their toughest test to date as the Panthers are 4-0, including a 13-point win over Wichita State last night. On the other hand, this is a very young team compared to last year’s experienced squad. Gone are DeJuan Blair, Levance Fields and Sam Young and three underclassmen are among the top four scorers. Texas is led by Damion James, who’s averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds. He’s also shooting 57% from the field. In fact, seven of the top eight scorers are hitting at a 50% or better clip. This one could be over early.

The Panthers (4-0) have moved on after losing Sam Young, DeJuan Blair and Levance Fields, their top three scorers on the team that went 31-5. While they’ve remained unbeaten, their victories include a three-point win over Wofford and an 11-point victory over Eastern Kentucky, both at home.

Pitt beat Wichita State 68-55 in the semifinal on Monday night, with redshirt freshman guard Travon Woodall leading the way. The 5-foot-11 Woodall had a career-high 19 points, adding six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Sophomore Ashton Gibbs, who has emerged as the team’s leading scorer, added 18 points, just missing his third straight game with at least 20. He averaged just 4.3 points in a reserve role as a freshman.

The programs haven’t faced off since their only previous meeting, a 91-87 Pitt win on Nov. 29, 1991 in the Preseason NIT. Longtime Longhorns fans may remember Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, who hit a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Texas 55-54 while playing for TCU in 1986.

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