LEXINGTON, Ky., March 20 (UPI) -- Having already made a substantial amount of noise in the NCAA Tournament, 10th seeded Kent State will try to make some more Thursday night when it takes on No. 3 Pittsburgh in a South Region semifinal.
Kent State (29-5) has won 20 straight games and is in the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. The Golden Flashes posted victories over No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 2 Alabama to get here.
Trevor Huffman scored 20 points and Antonio Gates added 18 as Kent State led by as many as 24 points before holding on for a 71-58 triumph over Alabama.
The Golden Flashes' winning streak is the longest in the country and has more than doubled the previous school record of nine straight set in the 1949-50 season.
Huffman and Andrew Mitchell form the senior backcourt tandem for Kent State, the only team from the Mid-American Conference in the field. Huffman averages 16.2 points and Mitchell chips in 15.2 per game and both were named to the all-MAC first team.
Ironically, Kent State and Pittsburgh both competed in the same Thanksgiving tournament, the University Hoops Classic, this season. Each team went 2-1, although they did not meet.
Pittsburgh (29-5) is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1974 after defeating Central Connecticut State and California. Julius Page scored 17 points as the Panthers used their defense for a 63-50 victory over California.
Brandin Knight, the co-Player of the Year in the Big East, added 11 points and seven assists. But the story of the game was Pittsburgh's defense, which held the Golden Bears without a basket for an 11-minute stretch in the second half.
The Panthers have allowed only 60.4 points per game this season and have held opponents under 60 points 18 times this season. They are 17-1 in those games and have won 28 out of 29 when holding an opponent under 60.
Pittsburgh has never won three games in an NCAA Tournament.
The game will be a homecoming for Panthers starting forward Jaron Brown, who was an all-state player in Kentucky.
This will be the 15th meeting between the teams with each having won seven times. They have not met, however, since 1977.
The winner will face top-seeded Duke or No. 5 Indiana in the regional finals on Saturday.