Off to another strong start, No. 14 Pittsburgh looks to begin 7-0 for a sixth consecutive season Saturday when they host struggling Toledo.
The Panthers have beaten their first six opponents by an average of 31.0 points—all at home.
They used a 20-3 first-half run Tuesday to beat Boston University 80-53 as Ronald Ramon made all five of his 3-point attempts for a team-high 15 points.
Pitt hopes Ramon, who shot 45.1 percent from beyond the arc last season, can build on the performance after a sluggish start to 2007-08. The senior made only 12-of-35 attempts (34.3 percent) through five games before breaking out against the Terriers for his best effort of the season.
“I think it was a combination of both practice time and his ability to move,” Panthers coach Jamie Dixon said of Ramon. “When you shoot, it’s more about your legs than your arms or your hands, which is something people forget.”
The Panthers are looking for more consistency from their guards. Starters Ramon, Levance Fields and Mike Cook are all shooting worse from the 3-point arc this season compared to 2006-07.
Forward Sam Young, who scored 14 points against Boston University, has become the centerpiece of the Panthers in his first full season as a starter with the loss of center Aaron Gray to graduation. The junior leads the team with 18.2 points per game, 8.5 rebounds and a 66.2 shooting percentage.
He’ll try to help Pitt to its second win of the season over a team from the Mid-American Conference after he made 8-of-11 shots and scored 20 points in a 92-45 win over Buffalo on Nov. 23.
The Panthers are 2-1 against Toledo (1-5), but the teams have not met since an 88-68 win by Pitt on Dec. 22, 1990.
The Rockets, who enter the fifth contest of a season-high six-game road stretch, are hoping to avoid losing a sixth consecutive game for the first time since Jan. 5-22, 2000.
Their slide reached five Wednesday with a 65-61 loss to North Carolina-Wilmington as the Rockets managed to trim a 12-point halftime deficit to one but never took the lead.
“We thought if we could keep the game close we’d have a chance to win it late,” Toledo coach Stan Joplin said. “That’s what you want to do on the road. We’re playing three freshmen and our veterans are all playing different roles from last year.”
Freshmen Justin Anyijong, Corey Bingham and Mohammed Lo combined to make 1-of-11 shots for three points in the loss.
Tyrone Kent, the team’s leading scorer with 18.5 points per game, has made 45.5 percent of his shots in his last two games after shooting only 30.2 percent in the previous three.
The Rockets have lost their last three games against Top 25 opposition since beating then-No. 14 Michigan State 81-76 on Dec. 30, 2002.