Pitt 70, West Virginia 59

  • February 09, 2009 10:04 PM
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By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
February 9, 2009

pitt 70, west virginia 59
petersen events center
pittsburgh, pa.
West Virginia 24 35 59
Pitt 29 41 70
Stat Comparison
FG Made-Att 21-52 26-54
FG Percentage 40.4% 48.1%
3P Made-Att 5-16 4-13
3P Percentage 31.3% 30.8%
FT Made-Att 12-16 14-19
FT Percentage 75.0% 73.7%
Rebounds 23 39
Turnovers 10 11
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Rebounder
 Alex Ruoff
17 Points
Devin Ebanks
7 Rebounds

Sam Young scored 20 points to lead No. 4-ranked Pitt to a 70-59 victory over West Virginia Monday night at Petersen Events Center.

The Panthers improved to 22-2, 9-2 by consistently beating the Mountaineers on the backboard to a 16-rebound advantage (39-23). Pitt shot 48.1 percent with Young making 7 of 12 shots. In two games against West Virginia this year Young has scored 42 points. DeJuan Blair played just 16 minutes due to early foul trouble, finishing with just 8 points and nine rebounds.

West Virginia’s top two scorers Da’Sean Butler and Alex Ruoff didn’t finish the game, both fouling out. Butler was 2 of 12 shooting for 4 points – 14 points below his season’s average.

“It’s hard to get anything going without those two guys on the floor,” said Huggins. “Da’ was never in rhythm – he just went way too fast. Give them credit because they had something to do that.”

Ruoff scored 17 points on 4 of 9 shooting before exiting with 7:18 to go in the second half. Freshman Devin Ebanks scored 16 points and grabbed seven of West Virginia’s 23 rebounds.

The Mountaineers shot 40.4 percent and struggled to get off good shots against a Panther team that had given up 80, 72 and 69 points in their last three games.

“Percentage wise we are the worst field goal shooting team in the Big East,” Huggins said. “We’ve survived because we’ve really guarded and because we’ve rebounded the ball.

“Our defense was good enough to win – our offense wasn’t,” Huggins said. “Nobody has ever won 0-0. You’ve got to score the ball.”

Levance Fields scored 13 points for Pitt, which sweeps the season series against West Virginia for the fourth time since 2002.

Six of West Virginia’s seven losses this year have come against ranked teams.

“We’re playing freshmen against seniors,” Huggins said. “They just physically out-manned us. They out-rebounded us by 16 and we’ve survived because we have rebounded the ball.

“I took Kevin Jones out of the game and I told Kevin, ‘I want you to remember this. When you go into the weight room when the season is over go remember how we got knocked around – how they just physically had their way with us.’

“Our guy takes it to the basket and there’s contact and he doesn’t make it. Their guy takes it to the basket and there’s contact and he scores. That’s strength,” Huggins said.

Huggins said his players will get it.

“I’ve played in this series and I know what it means,” Huggins said. “We’re going to come in here and win games and we’re going to come in here and beat them. We’ve got to get guys in here and we’ve got to get maturity.”

West Virginia drops to 16-8, 5-6 with the loss and faces Villanova Friday night in another Big East tilt televised on ESPN. Tip off is 9 pm.