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Updated: Saturday, December 28, 2002 12:54 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL PREVIEW
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George Mason (5-3) at No. 2 Pittsburgh (8-0)
GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS
George Mason Patriots
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PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
Pittsburgh Panthers
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PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Second-ranked Pittsburgh tries to remain unbeaten Saturday afternoon when it faces George Mason.

Pittsburgh (8-0) has yet to be challenged this season, winning by an average of 26.8 points. The Panthers can match the start of the 1987-88 squad, which opened with nine victories.

Brandin Knight scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half and Ontario Lett added 14 off the bench as Pittsburgh cruised to an 87-71 victory at Rhode Island last Saturday. The Panthers, who built a 16-point halftime lead, shot just below 56 percent and limited the Rams to 31 percent shooting.

The victory came despite a rough night for Julius Page, who entered averaging over 15 points per game. Page was limited to 19 minutes due to foul trouble and finished with seven points.

The Panthers have won 23 straight home games against non-conference opponents, including its first six at the brand-new Peterson Events Center.

George Mason (5-3) has won five straight after a 55-54 victory over Hartford on Monday. Richard Tynes and freshman Trent Wurtz each blocked shots in the final seconds to preserve the win for the Patriots, who scored only 16 points in the second half and did not score in the final 3:46.

Freshman Jai Lewis scored a season-high 17 points and Jon Larranaga added 12 and five assists. Leading scorer Mark Davis, averaging 15.6 points, was limited to a season-low four on 2-of-15 shooting.

This is the first meeting between the schools.


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