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Hoops Wager

Panthers knock off Wildcats 70-47 in Maui
2014-11-28

The Panthers closed out their trip to paradise by playing their best game of the season.

James Robinson had 14 points and six assists, and Pittsburgh was sharp at both ends to beat Kansas State 70-47 Wednesday in the third-place game of the Maui Invitational.

''That's a very good team, Kansas State, that we beat and we beat it the way we wanted to do it as far as defense, execution on the offensive end and smart play throughout,'' Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said.

Inconsistent to start the season, Pittsburgh (4-2) pulled it all together against the Wildcats, working the ball around for good shots inside and out, while limiting Kansas State's chances at the other end.

The Panthers shot 55 percent and made 8 of 15 3-pointers after a lackluster shooting performance against No. 15 San Diego State in the semifinals.

Ryan Luther and Michael Young had 13 points apiece for Pitt.
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Pittsburgh was solid at the defensive end, too, holding Kansas State (3-3) to 32 percent shooting, including 2 of 13 on 3-pointers.

The Panthers were particularly good against Marcus Foster, preventing K-State's dynamic guard from getting loose for open shots. He had seven points on 3-of-9 shooting.

Thomas Gipson led Kansas State with 13 points and six rebounds.
''We had to share the ball better,'' Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. ''When we move the ball and get it to open people, we're a better team.''

The Wildcats held their composure down the stretch in the Maui opener against Purdue and were right with No. 3 Arizona in the semifinals, losing a hard-fought game 72-68.

Pittsburgh rolled over Chaminade in its opener behind a dominating performance on the glass, but couldn't keep up when the intensity rose in the semifinals, losing 74-57 to No. 15 San Diego State.
View gallery
Panthers knock off Wildcats 70-47 in Maui

The Panthers were manhandled in that game by the big, strong Aztecs, unable to do much at either end of the floor.

Pittsburgh held its ground better against another physical team in the third-place game, refusing to get pushed around by K-State's beefy big men, Gipson and Stephen Hurt.

The Panthers led 30-27 at halftime and locked the Wildcats down to open the second half, holding them without a field goal - 0-for-5 shooting, two turnovers - over the first five minutes.

''First five minutes of the second half, we just couldn't seem to get over the hump,'' Weber said. ''We just didn't make the right read, the right play.''

Pitt pushed the lead to 41-30 on Luther's straightaway 3-pointer and kept hounding the Wildcats into missed shots to maintain its cushion.
The Panthers held Kansas State to 23 percent shooting in the second half while making 15 of 23 shots at the other end.
View gallery
Panthers knock off Wildcats 70-47 in Maui
Kansas State guard Jevon Thomas, left, pass off the basketball while being defended by Pittsburgh fo

Not a bad way to end a road trip, especially after being humiliated the day before.

''We came out and played really, really hard on defense,'' Young said. ''We paid attention to detail and got the job done.''

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TIP-INS

Pittsburgh: The Panthers were outrebounded for the first time in the tournament. Kansas State had a 32-22 edge, including 14 offensive boards. ... Pitt had a 28-10 advantage off the bench.

Kansas State: The Wildcats went 1 for 6 from 3-point range in the second half. ... Nino Williams had the only blocked shot of the game by either team.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh plays at Indiana on Tuesday.

Kansas State faces Nebraska-Omaha on Tuesday in Knoxville, Tennessee.

FOSTER'S NIGHT

Foster averaged 22 points and hit 16 of 28 shots in K-State's first two games in Maui. He went 1 of 4 from 3-point range after a 6-for-9 performance against Arizona.




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OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (12-13) at MISSOURI TIGERS (23-2)
2012-02-15

Tip-off: Wednesday, 9:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Missouri -15˝, Total: 142˝


However, the Cowboys are one of two teams that have actually beaten the Tigers this season, winning 79-72 on Jan. 25 in Stillwater. Also, the Cowboys have been a pesky road team this season, going 5-2 ATS. Mizzou Arena is one of the toughest places to play in all of college basketball, but OSU has lost by more than eight points just once in its past nine trips to Columbia. The Cowboys are also a strong wager against Big 12 foes this season, posting a 7-4-1 ATS mark, which is the same ATS record the Tigers have in conference play. The pick here is OKLAHOMA STATE to keep the final margin within a dozen points.


Oklahoma State is working on a four-game ATS unbeaten streak (3-0-1 ATS), but the school is coming off a 13-point loss at Kansas on Saturday. The Cowboys couldn’t find the ocean in that defeat, connecting on just 32.7% FG. It was quite a different story last month, as they torched the Tigers by making 60% of their shots, including 67% in front of the arc. Freshman F/G Le’Bryan Nash (13.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG) scored a career-high 27 points in that matchup, while fellow freshman teammate G Brian Williams (8.1 PPG) reached his own career high with 22 points. The defensive star that day was another freshman, F Michael Cobbins, who had 10 rebounds, four blocks and four steals. Senior SG Keiton Page, who leads OSU in points (14.4 PPG) and assists (2.3 APG), had 12 points and five assists against the Tigers, but he has gone cold since that game, shooting just 30% FG and 27% threes.

Missouri ranks seventh in the nation in points (80.2 PPG) and third in FG Pct. (50.0%), but opponents have succeeded in slowing down the Tigers recently. In the past five games, Mizzou’s scoring has dipped to 69.4 PPG, despite a strong 48.8% shooting clip. Missouri has four players averaging 12+ PPG this season, led by senior G Marcus Denmon (18.0 PPG). Denmon scored 17 points in the loss in Stillwater, but he struggled with his shot, going 4-of-16 that night. He has certainly found his stroke lately though, pumping in 23.3 PPG on a blistering 57% FG (14-of-26 threes) in his past three contests. Senior F Ricardo Ratliffe (14.0 PPG) continues to lead the nation with an insane 73.7% shooting clip, and he burned the Cowboys for 25 points and 12 rebounds in last month’s upset loss in Stillwater. The other big scorers for the Tigers are both excellent three-point shooters. Senior G Kim English (14.0 PPG) makes a whopping 47% from behind the arc while junior G Michael Dixon (12.4 PPG) makes a solid 36% of his threes.