The Backyard Brawl resumed tonight for the Pitt Panthers and the West Virginia Mountaineers and Pitt almost made their first game in almost 5 years a memorable as they hung with their longtime rivals before falling 69-60 in front of a nearly-packed Petersen Events Center.
For a minute there, it was hard to tell whether it was Pete or the WVU Coliseum because there were a considerable number of Mountaineer fans in attendance and they were loud, especially when they took an early 13-5 lead over the Panthers early in the first half. As the first half continued, so did WVU as they dominated Pitt on both ends of the court and eventually led 38-18 with over 5 minutes in the first half. G Jevon Carter was truly a sharpshooter as the hit 3 of his game-high 4 3-pointers in the first half. By halftime, it was 45-27.
But we began to see what Pitt was made of in the second half as they began to correct their mistakes and play fundamental basketball. After they trailed 51-37, the Panthers fought back and went on an 8-0 run which saw them only trail WVU by 6 points at 56-50. Then 4 minutes later, they kept the fight going as they only trailed WVU 61-59. But unfortunately, that was as close as they would get as WVU got their bearings and scored 8 more points to finish out the game.
Carter finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists for the Mountaineers as they improved their record to 10-1, Forward Lamont West also added 10 rebounds and 13 points. For the now 5-5 Panthers, senior Ryan Luther led with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and freshmen Shamiel Stevenson and Marcus Carr each scored 12 points.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of my team and how hard they fought”-Said Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings.
If there was a phrase that I could use, it would come from Rocky II when Apollo Creed said, “I won, but I didn’t beat him” in reference to his and Rocky Balboa’s first fight. That’s my thoughts on tonight’s Pitt game. WVU won, but they didn’t beat Pitt, and if they would’ve been a more mature team who made more clutch shots and cut down on the turnovers, I think Pitt might have pulled off the miracle.
Saturday night the Pittsburgh Panthers and West Virginia Mountaineers renewed their “Backyard Brawl” rivalry on the basketball court after five years of not playing each other.
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