Pitt Vs. West Virginia: Panthers Defeat Mountaineers In Morgantown, 72-66

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Pitt Vs. West Virginia: Panthers Win Third Straight, 72-66

More: Analysis of Pitt's big win in Morgantown

After holding a slim halftime lead, the Panthers came out victorious in Morgantown, defeating the Mountaineers 72-66 as part of ESPN's Big Monday.

The difference maker for Pitt was clearly point guard Tray Woodall. Woodall, finished with 24 points, one shy of his career high, and added four rebounds and three assists. His assists were way down from his average of more than seven per game, but Pitt needed practically all of his 24 points to win the game.

West Virginia trailed Pitt by as much as ten in the second half, but was spurred on by a big technical foul against Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins. The fairly mild crowd was absolutely raucous the rest of the way and really kept Pitt on their heels for the game’s final ten minutes. And Kevin Jones’ 21 points and 13 rebounds ensured West Virginia would keep it close.

Free throws were also a huge factor in the game as both teams shot particularly well, making over 80% of their attempts. The Panthers were 21-26 and the Mountaineers, 20-24.

For Pitt, the win doesn’t put them back in the discussion for the NCAA Tournament, but if they can continue to win games, they may surprisingly find themselves back in contention for a bubble spot. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, are now reeling, having lost three in a row and now at 15-8, and they could be seeing their tournament hopes disappear.

For more on the game and the Pitt perspective, head over to SB Nation blog Cardiac Hill. For the West Virginia side, check out The Smoking Musket.

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Pitt Vs. West Virginia: Panthers Hold 33-29 Halftime Lead

Both teams have struggled a bit at times in the first half, but at the break, Pitt holds a slim 32-29 lead in Morgantown over host West Virginia. The Panthers started off slowly and trailed much of the first half. Down eight, though, the team started to go on a bit of a run and with about three minutes left, Pitt took their first lead, 26-23.

Pacing the Panthers is starting point guard Tray Woodall. Woodall is the only player on both teams in double figures and his 16 points easily lead the team. For West Virginia, it’s been Truck Bryant and Kevin Jones, leading the way with a combined 17 points.

A bad stretch by the Mountaineers allowed Pittsburgh to get back into it. West Virginia had a stretch of more than seven minutes without a field goal, also turning the ball over five times during that period.

For more on Pitt, check out SB Nation blog Cardiac Hill. For the Mountaineers, visit The Smoking Musket.

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Pitt Vs. West Virginia: 'Eers Look To Stop Slide In Brawl

More: Breaking down the Backyard Brawl

It was a rough week in New York for the Mountaineers last week. The squad got run off the court at The Garden by St. John's, before dropping a referee-assisted close one in the Carrier Dome. Needless to say, that makes tonight's Backyard Brawl a must win, in hopes of staving off Bob Huggins' first three game losing streak as a Mountaineer head coach. Here's what to watch for as they brawl tonight:

  • A rejuvenated Pitt squad. The Panthers have been down so low this season, they couldn't get any lower. However, the worm seems to have turned for the boys from Oakland, as the Panthers have won two in a row. Since Tray Woodall has returned to the lineup, Dixon's squad appears to have stabalized the ship. While their record doesn't reflect it, the Panthers will be a tough out for anyone the rest of the year. Add to that a heaping slice of local rivalry hatred, and this one will be a tightly contested affair.
  • Truck's slump. For a brief moment, in the opening minutes of the second half against Syracuse, Bryant had appeared to snap out of his shooting slump, knocking down a couple big threes and putting ten points on the board in mere minutes. Unfortunately, he disappeared the rest of the game, including his god-awful attempt at a game winning shot which was quickly forgotten due to some clueless refs. Needless to say, Bryant will have to score tonight for the Mountaineers to be successful. Even more importantly, he'll draw the task of guarding Tray Woodall and whether he slows him down or not will be a key factor in whether this Brawl delights the home fans.
  • Can the frosh get to the rack? To draw Pitts big men away from Kevin Jones and Deniz Kilicli, West Virginia guards will need to be successful getting into the lane and getting the ball on the rim. The freshman tandem of Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne have excelled at penetrating drives so far this season, a trend that must continue against Pitt. If the WVU guards are content to sit back and jack up deep threes, then the Panthers will be able to jam the lane and neutralize WVU's big men.

For more on the Backyard Brawl stay tuned to SBNation Pittsburgh, Cardiac Hill and the Smoking Musket.

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