Pitt basketball improves their record to 5-0

The 4th ranked University of Pittsburgh basketball team won its fifth game in a row tonight when the Panthers defeated Oakland (Michigan) 66-55 at the Peterson Events Center. Standout Pitt center Aaron Gray registered a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

Nov. 19, 2006

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Aaron Gray had 23 points and 13 rebounds and No. 4 Pittsburgh survived an early scare, rallying for a 66-55 win over Oakland, Mich.

Gray was limited to 17 minutes of Pitt's 85-68 decision Saturday over Massachusetts because of a cut lip and foul problems, but played all but six minutes Sunday and was too strong and effective around the basket for Oakland (3-2) to handle.

The Panthers (5-0) won their first four games by an average of nearly 20 points, but were pushed for the first time this season by Oakland, which returned four of its five starters from last season.

With 6-foot-8 Shawn Hopes neutralizing Gray early, the Grizzlies - picked fifth in the Mid-Continent Conference preseason coaches poll -opened a 25-15 lead in the first half and led 33-29 at the half.

But Pitt's depth and strong inside play began wearing down the Grizzlies early in the second half, with Pitt's Mike Gray tying it at 39 with a short jumper five minutes into the half. Not long after that, Pitt went on a decisive 13-2 run keyed by Levance Fields' 3-pointer, Gray's layup and Levon Kendall's three-point play to take a 57-45 lead.

Pitt was never in trouble after that. The Colonial Athletic Association tournament wraps up Friday when Pitt entertains Florida State, which also won its three on-campus games in the exempt tournament.

Oakland went 1-2 in Pittsburgh, beating Northeastern but losing to Pitt and Massachusetts. Vova Severovas led Oakland with 17 points, with Erik Kangas adding 11 and Hopes 10.

The Panthers are 41-1 against non-conference opponents since the Petersen Events Center opened in 2002 and have won 62 of their last 63 games against non-Big East teams.

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