7:00 PM ET, December 27, 2003
Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Julius Page changed positions, not his approach, for Pittsburgh (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) on Saturday night.Page, replacing an injured Carl Krauser at point guard, picked up the slack by scoring 19 points and the Panthers matched the best start in school history with a 52-38 victory over New Hampshire.Krauser, Pitt's leading scorer with a 15.6-point average, did not play because of a groin injury.Page, held to a total of 15 points in Pitt's previous two wins, made five 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first half as Pitt took a 28-13 lead. He came into the game averaging 12.9 points, second to Krauser."My role is the same no matter where I'm playing," said Page, who had only two turnovers. "I've got to come out with the same type of aggressiveness and play good defense. Being the point guard, you have to look out for other players and be more patient when taking your shots. I was able to do that."Pitt coach Jamie Dixon wasn't surprised with Page's performance."I can't say enough about him," Dixon said. "He's played three different positions, he's running the team and he's playing great defense. Sometimes, I wonder if we're asking too much of him."Chris Taft had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Panthers (12-0), who matched the 1929-30 team for the best start in school history.Pitt has won 32 consecutive home games, the longest active streak in Division I, and is 26-0 at the Petersen Events Center.Dixon didn't know how Krauser was injured or how much time he would miss. Pitt's next game is Tuesday against Georgia."We can't point to one instance or instances," Dixon said. "It's something that has been a problem for him all year. He's had discomfort there. It's something we'll have to deal with."Krauser was replaced by freshman Antonio Graves, who made his first start and scored five points in 31 minutes.Krauser, the MVP of last week's Holiday Hoops Tournament, has either led or tied for the scoring lead in eight games and he leads Pitt in assists and is tied for the team lead in steals.Krauser watched the first half from the bench in a warm-up suit. He didn't return after hobbling to the locker room at halftime."Anytime you lose your starting point guard, there are adjustments you have to make," Dixon said. "It's the most important position. We did a good job adapting tonight and we have to continue to do that."Krauser's absence was hardly noticed as Pitt manhandled an overmatched New Hampshire team that was 5-of-26 from the field in the first half and opened the second half by making one of its first 12 shots.Blago Janev, a freshman who just joined the Wildcats (3-6) after playing for the Australian national team, scored all 13 of his points in a 10-minute spurt in the second half."He's pretty good," New Hampshire coach Phil Rowe said. "He's only had one practice with us. He's going to be very good in a week or two. He knows how to play."Pitt was also without starting center Toree Morris, who missed the game because he was in his native Tennessee attending to undisclosed family matters. Morris had started the first 11 games.New Hampshire played without its top scorer, center Ben Sturgill, who leads the America East in field goal percentage and is 10th in scoring. He has a fractured foot that will keep him out for a month.