On Monday night, Pitt opens its season with an exhibition contest against Gannon University, a Division II program in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Here are five things to know ahead of the Monday night game that will tip off at 7 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.
Looking for Horton, Sibande to Heat Up
While guys like Mo Gueye, Femi Odukale, and John Hugley have impressed so far during preseason practices and scrimmages, PSN will have its eyes set on two players during the season-opening exhibition: Ithiel Horton and Nike Sibande.
Ithiel Horton is out here shooting around hours after practice ended and talking to the media. pic.twitter.com/i60usJu9JY
— George Michalowski (@MichalowskiCBB) September 30, 2021
Horton shot the three-ball alright last year at 37% coming into the season with high expectations from outside. Sibande, who struggled to find consistency until the end of the season, led the team at 44% from three-point land. The two leading returning scorers from last year’s squad have a lot on their shoulders this season, and will need to put the ball in the bucket from the very start.
Get to Know Gannon
Gannon University is a Division II school in Erie, Pennsylvania, whose basketball program competes in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, along with Pitt-Johnstown, Slippery Rock, and more. The Golden Knights finished last season at 10-4 and will return all five starters this year.
“Playing an exhibition game versus Pitt will give this team the experience we need to tackle a competitive PSAC schedule,” Head Coach Kelvin Jefferson said in a release. “This is an exciting time for our players and fans and this game will provide many of our players to play in front of the Gannon fans for the first time in their careers. This is an opportunity to compete against a team at the highest level and the players are anxious to take on one of the ACC’s best!”
Jefferson’s squad is led by sharp-shooting guard Chris Clancy, who averaged 13.5 points per game last season, along with Braden Olsen, who averaged 13.4. Two Pennsylvania natives, Ike Herster (Kennedy Catholic) and Kevin Dodds (Bishop Shanahan) also averaged north of 9 points per game last season for the Golden Knights.
Gannon has faced off against Pitt twice in its history, losing both contests. Most recently, Pitt took down Gannon by a score of 80-50 back in November of 2015.
In Pitt’s Blue-Gold scrimmage back in early October, Stony Brook transfer Mo Gueye turned heads with a 12-point, 8-rebound, and 3-block performance. He followed that performance with another solid performance in the team’s scrimmage against Maryland. In that game, Gueye finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and two blocks. The reigning America East Defensive Player of the Year showed off a versatile offensive skill set combined with length and awareness on the defensive end as advertised.
John Hugley, after missing the majority of last season, has also come out firing this pre-season. In 22 minutes of playing time against Maryland, he led the team with 14 points, and also racked up three assists, six rebounds, and two steals. Hugley shot an efficient 6 of 8 from the field against the Terps, and also knocked down his lone three-point attempt.
With Gueye (now listed at 6-foot-10), and Hugley (6-foot-9) the Panthers front court has looked solid so far, and will look to continue to produce against a smaller Gannon squad.
Reminder: Exhibition Games Do Not Count
According to the NCAA rulebook, this game against Gannon will not count towards either team’s statistics or win-loss record.
“A contest must be counted by both teams as an official contest for purposes of won-lost records and team and individual statistics unless both institutions agree in writing before the game that it is to be an exhibition contest,” the NCAA states. “If it is an exhibition contest, the win or loss and team and individual statistics should not be counted.”
Tip-Off, TV/Radio, Ticket Info
The contest will tip off at 7 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.
Tickets are available through the Pitt Ticket Office, starting at $15, and can be found at the link below.
The exhibition will not be televised, but will be broadcast on the radio on 90.5 WERG FM out of Erie.