Preview: Penn State vs. Pitt

Posted on Nov 20 2017 - 12:48pm by Cody Flavell
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Jared Wilson-Frame leads Pitt into a rivalry clash with Penn State. (Photo Credit: Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Monday night, the Panthers (1-2) and Nittany Lions (4-0) continue their rivalry by heading to the Barclays Center in New York for the second semifinal round of the Progressive Legends Classic. Tip-off is at 9:30 PM and is broadcast on ESPN 3.

Pitt is coming off of a victory, albeit not so convincing, over UC Santa┬áBarbara on Wednesday night, 70-62. Penn State beat Columbia, 79-65 on Friday. This will be the 148th meeting between the schools. Pitt won last season’s meeting, 81-73. Penn State leads the all time series by a close 75-72 margin.

Pitt’s victory over UC Santa Barbara saw some awful first half defense but it tightened up in the second half as they heled the Gauchos to 23.5% shooting. They got a double-double from Ryan Luther and saw Jonathan Milligan score a career high 14 points in the much needed win.

Penn State head coach, Patrick Chambers, has all five of his starters from last year returning which has lead to the first 4-0 start since the 2010-11′ season.

Penn State got a huge game from Shep Garner on Friday as he played a team-high 39 minutes and was rewarded with a team-high 26 points. Mike Watkins had a double-double for the Nittany Lions.

The early season leading scorers for both team’s are Jared Wilson-Frame (16.3 PPG) for the Panthers and Tony Carr (20.0 PPG) for the Nittany Lions. Ryan Luther is grabbing 9.7 rebounds per game for Pitt. Mike Watkins is pulling down 8.3 rebounds a game.

The animosity isn’t as high for the basketball rivalry as it is in football. The programs simply just aren’t as high-profile as they are in football. Based on the slight 75-72 edge for Penn State in the series, it could be defined as a rivalry due to the close result and no one really dominating the other. Another chapter will be written on Monday night with the Panthers looking to hand Penn State their first loss.