With big guy limited, Pitt teammates step up

Published November 19, 2006

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh is good enough with Aaron Gray in its lineup to be ranked No. 4. What surprised Massachusetts was how good the Panthers were without their 7-foot star.

Pitt overcame Gray's injury and foul trouble by relying on its balanced scoring and a deep bench to beat Massachusetts 85-68 on Saturday.

Gray, the preseason Big East player of the year, drew his second foul 5½ minutes in and didn't return until the start of the second half. Less than a minute after returning, he was cut on his lower lip and needed seven stitches. He came back with Pitt (4-0) up 68-52 with 11 minutes left.

Despite playing only 17 minutes, Gray had 14 points and five rebounds. He was coming off a 24-point, 14-rebound game against Northeastern.

"We drew up three new plays designed to go right at him and get him in foul trouble," UMass coach Travis Ford said. "When he went out, I said, 'Okay,' but it got worse. ... We didn't take advantage while he was out. They're certainly one of the best three or four teams I've seen."

Mike Cook also had 14, Levance Fields had 13 points and five assists, Antonio Graves had 12 points and Tyrell Biggs had 11 points and eight rebounds in a reserve role.

"We are eight or nine deep, and when Aaron went out, Tyrell stepped in," Fields said. "When he plays like that, he's going to be tough to stop. We clicked out there and things went well."

NO. 16 MARQUETTE 95, E. MICH. 62: Dominic James had 17 points and six assists and Wesley Matthews added 15 points for the host Golden Eagles (4-0), who made 13 of 27 3-pointers to top 10 3s for the second straight game.

NO. 21 UCONN 74, FAIRFIELD 49: Jeff Adrien had 17 points and 12 rebounds, his third double double in three games, to lead the Huskies (3-0) in the Hispanic College Fund Classic at the Hartford (Conn.) Civic Center.

LOUISVILLE 100, N'WESTERN ST. 87: Freshman Jerry Smith scored 24 as the host Cardinals overcame an 11-point halftime deficit in their season opener. The Demons (1-2) ended the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 50-39 lead. Louisville chipped away and took the lead for good at 73-72 after Edgar Sosa's 3-pointer.

FDU 76, SETON HALL 71: Bernell Murray hit two go-ahead free throws with 2:25 left and Cameron Tyler added four straight points for the visiting Knights (1-1), who snapped a 10-game skid against the Pirates (1-1).

W.VA. 66, CANISIUS 43: Joe Alexander scored a season-high 16 and Frank Young added 14 for the host Mountaineers (3-0). West Virginia used a 13-3 run to turn a 15-9 lead into a 28-12 advantage during a six-minute span in the first half to take control.

BROWN 51, PROVIDENCE 41: Nathan Eads scored 16 and Keenan Jeppesen 13 to lead the visiting Bears (1-3) in the lowest-scoring game in 27 years in the 113-game rivalry.

CINCINNATI: The NCAA ruled that junior Hernol Hall has used up his eligibility, rejecting the school's appeal to let him play this season. Hall, 24, played two seasons at Long Morris College.


Arkansas 70, SFa 59: Sonny Weems, a junior who transferred from junior college, had 24 points and 11 rebounds in his first start for the host Razorbacks (2-0), turning a close game midway through the second half into a rout.

GEORGIA 105, VALDOSTA ST. 74: Takais Brown scored 23 in his debut for the host Bulldogs. Brown sat out Georgia's first two games on an academic suspension.

OLE MISS 75, CENT. ARK. 61: Clarence Sanders scored 17 and Bam Doyne 15 to lead the Rebels (4-0) in the Hispanic College Fund Classic.

WINTHROP 74, MISS. ST. 63: Phillip Williams had 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Eagles (2-2) snapped the Bulldogs' six-game home winning streak.

Top 25

NEBRASKA 73, NO. 20 CREIGHTON 61: Freshman Ryan Anderson scored 19, including the go-ahead 3-pointer, and the host Cornhuskers (2-0) shot 67.6 percent (25-of-37) from the field while ending a seven-game regular-season losing streak to their instate rival.


Penn 97, Fla. Gulf Coast 74: Mark Zoller scored 19 of his 26 in the second half, and Brian Grandieri added 19 points and nine assists for the Quakers (2-2) in their home opener.


USC 69, ST. MARY'S 63: Lodrick Stewart scored 19 to help the Trojans (1-1) to their first win in their new $140-million arena, with prize recruit O.J. Mayo looking on. Mayo, the nation's top-rated prep recruit, watched from a front-row seat during his first campus visit.

PORTLAND ST. 71, ARIZ. ST. 67: Juma Kamara scored 18 and Scott Morrison had 16 and eight rebounds as the visiting Vikings (2-2) held off a second-half rally after leading by as much as 18.

SAN DIEGO ST. 86, CAL 79: Jerome Habel scored 23 in his first game back from a suspension for the host Aztecs, 5-0 for the first time since winning their first eight in 1984-85.