NEW YORK (AP)—Carl Krauser and his New York teammates won another “home” game.
Krauser, one of seven New York City area players on No. 11 Pittsburgh’s roster, scored all but two of his 17 points at the free throw line in a 70-51 victory over Memphis on Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic.
The Panthers (6-0), who have held all their opponents this season to less than 60 points, improved their record at Madison Square Garden since 2002 to 12-3.
“I am overwhelmed every time I step on that court,” said Krauser, who is from the Bronx. “This is the court all the greats have played on and I get to play on it in front of my family and friends. I am lucky to play in the Big East. The Garden is very special.”
Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon knows how important the junior is to the Panthers.
“He’s not a senior but he does provide senior leadership and that carries over to our guys,” Dixon said.
Chris Taft—another New York native—had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Pittsburgh, which opened the game with a 12-2 run and had its first 20-point lead at 30-10 with 9:04 left in the first half.
Memphis (5-3) shot just 29 percent (9-for-31), including 1-for-9 from 3-point range, as the Panthers took a 41-23 halftime lead.
The Tigers’ forward combination of Rodney Carney and Sean Banks, who entered the game averaging 19.6 and 17.3 points, respectively, each went 3-for-11 from the field and had seven points in the opening half.
Banks finished with 18 points on 7-for-19 shooting and Carney had 11 points and was 4-for-18.
“We are just not a good offensive team right now,” Memphis coach John Calipari said, adding that the Tigers’ other two losses were to ranked teams, Syracuse and Maryland. “Those teams exposed our weaknesses. We’re trying to start two freshmen. We’re not together as a team. We’re a team in flux trying to get our identity.”
Krauser struggled from the field (1-for-9) but he went 15-for-18 from the line and had six assists and seven rebounds. His free throws with 9:30 left gave Pittsburgh its biggest lead of the game, 61-37.
“I just saw my numbers at the line,” Krauser said, shaking his head. “I hate missing free throws so I’ll spend another hour after practice shooting them. I have to because I’m the point guard and I always have the ball in my hands.”
Chevon Troutman had 12 points for Pittsburgh and Antonio Graves and Mark McCarroll each had 10.
The Panthers finished with a 51-35 advantage on the boards and they were 25-for-42 from the free throw line, while Memphis went 10-for-17.
“We concentrate on rebounding and transition defense and then we emphasized rebounding this week,” Dixon said.