PITTSBURGH, PA – West Virginia took the 189th edition of the Backyard Brawl on Friday night, defeating the Pitt Panthers 81-56. This marks the Mountaineers’ sixth straight win in the series.
Erik Stevenson hit a pair of threes in the opening minutes of the game to give West Virginia a quick 8-2 lead. A missed layup by Kedrian Johnson tilted the momentum as Pitt went on a 13-2 run to go up 15-10. Marquette transfer Greg Elliott caught fire hitting three consecutive shots from behind the arc.
WVU opened up the game red hot on the offensive end of the floor, making eight of their first nine field goal attempts. The guards did a good job of creating high percentage shots by feeding the ball to Mohamed Wague and Tre Mitchell in the post who combined for 15 first half points (6/8 FG). Backup guard Joe Toussaint showed off his handles putting a couple of Pitt defenders on skates en route to the basket and drew a handful of fouls inside the paint.
The aggressiveness of Toussaint and backcourt mate Kedrian Johnson helped WVU to a 16-5 run to close out the first half. Johnson came away with a steal and a layup with just seconds remaining, giving WVU a 47-36 lead at the break.
After shooting the lights out in the first half (65.4%), the Mountaineers offense cooled off considerably. Pitt head coach Jeff Capel did a nice job of switching up the defensive coverage every few trips up the floor and the 2-3 zone, in particular, gave WVU the most issues. The ball began to stick which resulted in settling for tough, contested shots deep in the shot clock.
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Pitt dealt with foul trouble all night but suffered a big blow when Nelly Cummings fouled out of the game at the 7:39 mark. Although he only notched eight points on the night, the Panthers’ offense dried up once he exited the game making no shots from the field over the next five minutes. This allowed WVU to go on a 15-5 run to end the game and win it comfortably.
West Virginia will return home for a home game against Morehead State on Tuesday, November 15th. Tip-off from the WVU Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. EST and will be televised on ESPN+.
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