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Gray posts double-double to rescue Pittsburgh

Nov 20, 2006 - 12:31 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Aaron Gray came to the rescue to enable Pittsburgh to breathe a little easier.

Gray scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Levon Kendall added 11 for No. 5 Pittsburgh, which needed a second-half rally to remain unbeaten with a 66-55 victory over Oakland at the CAA Classic.

After victories over Northeastern and Massachusetts in the last two days, the Panthers (5-0) came out flat against the Grizzlies before coming back to win for the 62nd time in 63 regular-season home games against non-conference opponents.

Sophomore guard Erik Kangas came out strong in the first half for Oakland (3-2) by making all three 3-pointers and scoring 11 points to give the Grizzlies a 33-29 lead at the break.

"(Oakland) got after it," Pittsburgh Jamie Dixon said. "They used their quickness. They used their strength and quickness. I thought we did a better job in the second half. We adjusted and got at it better."

"I think we were a little tired," Kendall said. "But that's why we do this now. We can learn from that, learn that we have to play 40 minutes. ... They were getting after all the loose balls and working harder than us."

Oakland limited the Panthers to 33 percent shooting (8-of-24) from the floor in the first half before Gray took charge in the second, scoring 15 of his points in the final 20 minutes.

"Coach Dixon said to get the ball down low," Gray said. "He has confidence in me to make good decisions. We got a few easy buckets and started to really get confidence. Things went well for us."

"I thought we were a little more aggressive on the defensive end," Dixon said. "The main thing was they didn't beat us off the drive in the second half. We went a little smaller and also emphasized to the guys to play defensively hard."

Gray, who made 10-of-14 shots, posted his third double-double in five games this season and 21st of his career for the Panthers, who shot 49 percent (23-of-47) and had a 36-24 rebound edge.

Vova Severovas scored 17 points, Kangas added 11 and Shawn Hopes 10 for the Grizzlies, who shot 24 percent (6-of-25) in the second half and fell to Pittsburgh for the second time in as many meetings.

"We pride ourselves on how we defend," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "I thought (we) defended Gray as good as you can defend him in the first half. But the first three or four possessions in the second half, we knew they'd come out and be as intense as they can be, and I thought we kinda folded and watched."

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