With over one hundred former Marquette players, coaches and staff members expected to be in attendance, the 24th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles will take on the struggling Pittsburgh Panthers Saturday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
Marquette hopes to extend their winning streak to 2 games and boost their Big East record above .500 while Pitt tries to avoid their first 6 game losing streak since 1998.
The Golden Eagles are hoping for another big contribution from sophomore forward Devante Gardener who played 34 minutes and had career highs in points (22) and rebounds (15) in Wednesday's night win against St. Johns.
Gardner has played exceptionally well in the wake of forward Chris Otule's injury, reaching double figures in scoring five of the past eight games.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is coming off a 62-39 home loss to Rutgers where the Panthers shot a meager 21.1 percent from the field and were out-rebounded 51-35.
One of the reasons for Pitt's struggles this season is the absence of point guard Tray Woodall who has missed the last 10 games due to an abdominal injury.
With Woodall out, Pitt's star guard and leading scorer Ashton Gibbs is in charge of running the offense, and although Gibbs is still averaging 16.2 points per game, his shooting percentage is just 36.2 percent without Woodall.
Look for guards Darius Johnson-Odom and Ashton Gibbs to provide the scoring sparks for their squads. Even though Pitt has struggled this season, Gibbs is still one of the best guards in the Big East and can catch fire behind the arc at any time. Last year, against Marquette, Gibbs hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 points in Pitt's victory against the Golden Eagles.
Marquette has to control the glass and make sure that Pitt's long shots do not turn into long offensive rebounds. Look for MU coach Buzz Williams to be harping on his guards to box out throughout the game.
Tip off is at 1 o'clock at the Bradley Center and all former Marquette players, coaches, and staff member in attendance will be honored at half time in ceremony celebrating 95 years of Marquette Basketball.
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