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Mountaineers Overpower Panthers in Backyard Brawl Victory

Cody Nespor

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PITTSBURGH — The fouls were flying early and often in as the West Virginia Mountaineers traveled to Pittsburgh for the 187th installment of the Backyard Brawl.

The Panthers (2-2, 1-0 ACC) were coming off of a win over local Rival Robert Morris Tuesday but fell to the Mountaineers (2-0) 68-53 Friday night.

The teams combined for 25 fouls in the first half and 23 in the second. 10 Mountaineer players were called for at least one foul. Jermaine Haley, who scored 16 points in the team’s opener against Akron last week, picked up two fouls within the first minute of play and saw the floor for only 48 seconds prior to halftime.

Freshman forward Oscar Tshiebwe shined for West Virginia, recording a double-double by leading all scorers with 20 points and pulling down a game-high 17 rebounds. Tshiebwe had the double-double already secured by halftime with a dozen points and rebounds each.

The Panthers used a four-guard, one-forward lineup that struggled to match up with West Virginia’s two-bigs look. The Mountaineers dominated on the glass, outrebounding Pitt 51-35. 19 of those rebounds were offensive, leading to 17 second-chance points.

West Virginia held a modest 36-35 point lead at the half, but Pitt’s shooting cratered in the second half with the Panthers only making 3-of-25 shots from the floor.

Emmitt Matthew Jr. scored 17 for the Mountaineers on 7-of-16 shooting and Sean McNeil chipped in 11 points with three made three-pointers.

Guards Trey McGowens and Ryan Murphy led the ways for Pitt, scoring 13 and 11 points, respectively.

The win pushed the all-time record between the rivals to 99-88 in favor of West Virginia. This was Bob Huggins’ third win at the Petersen Events Center.

The Mountaineers’ next action will be at home against Northern Colorado on Monday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.

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Cody is currently a second-year graduate student at West Virginia University studying journalism. His graduate research focuses on the effects newspaper closures have on local communities. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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