|Field Goal %||31.5||40.0|
|Three Point %||26.1||23.8|
|Free Throw %||82.6||83.3|
In the first meeting inside the Coliseum since 2012, the West Virginia Mountaineers (6-3) beat the Pittsburgh Panthers 69-59 in the second meeting in the renewal of the Backyard Brawl. The win gives the Mountaineers a three-game winning streak over the Panthers and gives WVU a 10-game advantage (98-88) in the all-time series.
The Mountaineers jumped out to a 5-0 lead after winning the opening tip behind an Esa Ahmad lay in and a Beetle Bolden three.
With the game tied at seven the intensity started to heat up in just over five minutes of play. There was a lot of talking between the two clubs and Pitt’s Jared Wilson-Frame and WVU’s Lamont West got caught up in some extra curricular and both received a technical foul.
A three from guard Trey McGowens gave Pitt their first lead of the game 10-9. Moments later, a tie up between Mountaineer Andrew Gordon and Kene Chukwuka resulted in another set of technical fouls.
“I think a double technical is ridiculous” Expressed West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. “Somebody started it. Get the guy who started it.”
Pitt would go up three after McGowens drove the lane for a lay-up. After trading a couple of baskets, Emmitt Mathews Jr tipped in a Sagaba Konate miss to cut the Pitt lead down to one. McGowens went 1-2 from the free throw line and on the ensuing possession, Logan Routt got the ball underneath, made a move to the basket and slammed it in to tie the game at 15.
Esa Ahmad gave the Mountaineers the lead back after receiving the ball on the wing and driving to the basket for the lay-up and the foul.
The Mountaineers continued to pull away from the Panthers going on a 9-0 run and holding a 12-point lead into halftime. Beetle Bolden led the Mountaineers with 11 points and Esa Ahmad had seven points and four rebounds.
West Virginia had the defensive pressure ramped up, turning Pitt over 14 times in the first 20 minutes. It had some resemblance of Press Virginia that fans have been accustomed to over the years. “I thought we had much, much, better intensity. We made some rotations, finally, and we brought full court pressure back out of the moth balls.” Declared Huggins.
West Virginia built a 17-point lead in the first five minutes of the second half; however, Pitt wasn’t going to go away quietly. Pitt went on a 6-0 run midway through the second half to get within 8. The Mountaineers responded scoring seven straight points and had a 15-point lead with 3:43 left in the game.
Pitt amped their pressure and as a result, West Virginia turned it over three straight possessions and Pitt was back within 8 with a little under two minutes to play.
“They put more pressure on the ball later on, but it’s a pretty simple concept. If you catch the ball, and, what we call ‘square up’, you can see the whole floor. If you catch it and turn sideways, you can only see the side that you’re looking at. Worse yet, if you catch it and dribble it, you’re liable to dribble it off a guy’s foot, which we did, or dribble it into a guy, which we did, because you don’t know where they are.” Stated Huggins.
The Mountaineers held on in the final minutes as Beetle hit a pair of free throws giving West Virginia the 10-point win.
It wasn’t pretty, but the effort and intensity was there. “We have to play hard like that, and we have to rebound.” Explained Huggins. “That’s been the M.O. since I got here, that we have to get more shots than our opposition. When we get more shots than our opposition, we have a great chance to win, and you can do that by turning them over and you can do that by rebounding.”
West Virginia will have a week off before they head north to face Rhode Island in the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase on Sunday December 16th.
West Virginia Stats