Panthers and Yellow Jackets mix it up in ACC fracas

12:18 PM, Jan 14, 2014   |    comments
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Atlanta, GA ( - After winning five straight games and obtaining a 15-1 overall record, the Pittsburgh Panthers are now members of the Top-25 and will try to prove their dominance against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Atlantic Coast Conference action at McCamish Pavilion.

Pittsburgh is tied for the ACC lead with a 3-0 conference record with the unbeaten Syracuse Orange, whom the Panthers will tangle with following their matchup with Georgia Tech. Pittsburgh sent Wake Forest packing with an 80-65 win on Saturday.

Georgia Tech has struggled a bit recently, losing three of the last five, but still managed to break up a two-game losing skid with a win over Notre Dame, 74-69, Saturday.

It helps that the Yellow Jackets have a perfect 5-0 all-time series lead against the Panthers, although history isn't necessarily bound to repeat itself. The last time these two teams met was back in 1989.

Pittsburgh jumped right out ahead of Wake Forest and never looked back in the 15-point victory for the Panthers, which improved them to 3-0 in ACC play. Lamar Patterson recorded his sixth game this season in which he scored at least 20 points. Patterson netted a game-high 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-7 from 3-point distance. Patterson added five rebounds and six assists to his impressive stat total in the win. Talib Zanna contributed 16 points for the Panthers and pulled down 12 rebounds for the double-double. He also led the team with four blocked shots. Durand Johnson chipped in 11 points, including 8-of-9 from the free-throw line.

Patterson has been the player to watch this season on Pittsburgh, as the forward averages a healthy 17.9 ppg on 53.5 percent shooting from the floor. His 72 total assists is a team-best this season, while Patterson also contributes a strong 4.7 rpg. The center Zanna tops the roster in that department with 8 rpg and is best on the squad with 15 blocked shots. Zanna averaged 12.4 ppg, while Cameron Wright nets 10.6 ppg this season.

Georgia Tech had things pretty much under control before the Yellow Jackets blew a 15-point second-half lead to Notre Dame. The Irish couldn't complete the entire comeback though, as Georgia Tech went on to earn its first ACC game this season. Trae Golden paced the Yellow Jackets with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and added four assists in the win. Chris Bolden had 14 points for the Yellow Jackets, and Kammeon Holsey scored 13. Daniel Miller netted 10 points and grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds while also blocking four shots.

Golden is the team's leading scorer this season at 13.1 ppg on 44.1 percent shooting from the floor. He's also the team's leading assist man with 57 total on the year. Without Robert Carter Jr., who underwent knee surgery and will be out for an extended period of time, Miller is the team's active leading rebounder with 8.2 rpg and a healthy 10.4 ppg. Marcus Georges-Hunt, who turned in nine points versus Notre Dame, is second on the team with an 11.9 ppg average.

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