GAME NOTES: The Pittsburgh Panthers will attempt to put an end to their slide on Wednesday night when they venture to Conte Forum for an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown with the Boston College Eagles.
Pittsburgh was considered one of the nation's top teams earlier in the season after an 18-2 start, but since then it has dropped five of its last seven games, including three straight. The Panthers had one of their most disappointing setbacks of the season on Sunday when they dropped a home bout with Florida State, 71-66, to dip to 20-7 and 8-6 in league play.
Boston College registered arguably the college basketball season's biggest upset last Wednesday when they went on the road and shocked then-No. 1 Syracuse, 62-59 in overtime. However, it fell back on its losing ways at Miami-Florida on Saturday with an embarrassing 69-42 defeat. The Eagles are now losers of six of their last seven to slip to just 7-20 overall and 3-11 in the ACC
Pittsburgh has won six straight meetings versus Boston College and 10 of the past 11 to take a 29-17 lead in the all-time series.
The Panthers managed to overcome a halftime deficit in their most recent tilt to tie the score at 48 with under seven minutes to play, but from there FSU pulled away for good with five unanswered points as Pitt was saddled with its third straight loss. The squad shot a mere 37 percent from the field on the evening and was outscored from the free-throw line, 27-18. Lamar Patterson has seen much better shooting days from the field (8-of-21), but he still finished with a great stat line of 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Cameron Wright added 12 points and Talib Zanna ripped down 14 rebounds.
Despite its recent struggles, Pitt still boasts outstanding numbers this season, displaying equally strong performances on offense (.458 FG percentage, 72.3 ppg) and defense (.403, 61.0 ppg) while living comfortably in the green with both its rebounding (+6.3) and turnover (+2.0) margins. Patterson stuffs the stat sheet on a consistent basis with 17.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.4 apg and 1.5 spg. Zanna mans the paint with 12.2 ppg and 8.1 rpg, while Wright (10.8 ppg) rounds out the double-digit scorers.
It's safe to say that any momentum the Eagles picked up after their tremendous win over Syracuse failed to roll over into their matchup with Miami, as they shot a meager 32.6 percent from the field (including 4-of-20 from 3-point range) for a season-low 42 points in the 27-point setback. Patrick Heckmann overcame the odds and posted a strong effort with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Olivier Hanlan finished with 11 points but on just 2- of-7 from the floor.
Unsurprisingly, Boston College's futile season has been accurately represented in its year-to-date statistics, as it shoots 44.5 percent from the field for just 68.5 ppg, while allowing 73.7 ppg on a lofty 46.3 percent shooting. The team has had some modest success from beyond the arc, making eight 3-pointers per game at a 35.4 percent clip, but it also gives away possessions with poor showings in the rebounding (-3.8) and turnovers (-2.4) battles. Hanlan paces the squad with 18.0 ppg and has knocked down 51 long-range buckets. Ryan Anderson (14.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Joe Rahon (9.5 ppg) are also regular contributors.
It's difficult to trust Pittsburgh on the road considering its struggles of late, but against a Boston College squad that is just 4-7 on its home floor, figure for the Panthers to get back on the right track.
Game Date and Time