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West Virginia Vs. Pitt: Mountaineers Use Defense To Squash Panthers, 66-48

The Mountaineers used pressure defense and fast break points to blow past the Panthers to a 66-48 victory. West Virginia outscored Pitt 40-23 in the second half, behind a strong defensive effort. WVU forced 17 turnovers in the contest, many of them leading to fast break points. After a hotly contested first half, WVU used an early second half 12-0 run to put the Panthers at an arm's length and never looked back.

Kevin Jones had his 18th double double of the season, tallying 16 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow senior Darryl Bryant didn't start the contest, a first this season, but seemed galvinized in the contest contributing 15 points and seven rebounds and four steals. Deniz Kilicli also had another strong showing, looking physical inside and tallying 14 points on a array of tip-ins, hook shots and dunks. Tray Woodall led the Panthers with 12 points.

The Panthers struggled with the Mountaineers defense all night, shooting a paltry 37 percent from the field and an ice cold 18 percent from three point range. The Mountaineers also outrbounded the Panthers by a 31-25 margin. West Virginia had an outstanding night at the free throw line, going 18-of-19. It was an impressive effort, considering the Mountaineers' struggles at the stripe so far this season.

The win is a huge boost for the Mountaineers, who move to 7-7 in Big East play. Their next contest is on the road at Notre Dame next Wednesday in South Bend. Tonight's win goes a long way towards WVU's tournament hopes, but there's still a lot of work left to do.

For more on West Virginia basketball, check out the Smoking Musket. For more on Pitt, check out Cardiac Hill.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.