Pitt Falls to West Virginia 68-53
PITTSBURGH, PA – The Pitt men’s basketball team fell to rival West Virginia, 68-53, in the Backyard Brawl at the Petersen Event Center Friday evening.
Sophomore Trey McGowens led the Panthers with 13 points and shot 2-of-3 from downtown while also adding four rebounds. Freshman Justin Champagnie registered a career-high 12 points and pulled down a team-best five boards, while junior Ryan Murphy added 12 points and knocked down all five of his free throws.
“First off, congrats to West Virginia.” Said head coach Jeff Capel. They’re a big team and really dominated inside in the paint, had offensive rebounds, and made it difficult for us to score around the basket. I thought the game was lost in the first three minutes of the second half. I thought we fought to get back into the game in the second half.”
The Mountaineers gained a 9-3 advantage in the first four minutes, but Pitt responded with a 7-0 run to take a 10-9 lead with 12:27 left in the first. West Virginia took a 23-16 lead at the 8:10 mark, however, Pitt used the next three minutes to outscore the Mountaineers 8-3 and trailed by two, 26-24. McGowens hit a three with 1:24 remaining to give Pitt its first lead of the game (35- 34) and trailed by one going into the halftime, 36-35.
West Virginia jumped out to a five-point lead early in the second (40-35) and extended its lead by eight (45-37) with 15:14 to play. Pitt climbed back and trailed 45-39, only for the Mountaineers to regain control and take a 10-point, 49-39 lead with 11:17 to play. West Virginia held Pitt to 18 points in the second half and shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
“We didn’t finish strong or play through contact and that gave them more confidence to become even more physical and more dominate.” Said Capel “They had 19 offensive rebounds. In the second half, it was our inability to score. It was as bad as I’ve seen, as bad as I’ve been a part of. Part of it is their defense, but a part of it is our inability to finish. That’s something we must work on; we have to continue to get tougher.”
West Virginia outrebounded the Panthers, 51-37, and made eight three pointers compared to Pitt’s two.
Pitt is back on the floor Monday, Nov. 19 at home against Monmouth. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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