SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Once Kueth Duany zoned in on Drew
Schifino, West Virginia never had a chance against No. 15 Syracuse.
Duany helped hold Schifino, the Mountaineers' leading scorer, to
a season-low 10 points as the Orangemen clamped down with a stiff
man-to-man defense and won 89-51 Wednesday night.
Neither Schifino, who finished 4-for-18 shooting, nor standout
freshman Kevin Pittsnogle could get going for West Virginia (13-12,
4-9 Big East). Pittsnogle was 2-for-10 from the field and hit just
one of four 3-pointers. He entered the game with 109 3-pointers and
was shooting 54 percent from long range.
"All week that's what we were preparing to do,'' said Duany,
who scored 18 points. "Pittsnogle is the best 3-point shooter in
the Big East, and he's their center.''
Syracuse (20-4, 10-3 Big East) remained unbeaten in 16 home
games this season and ran its Carrier Dome winning streak to 18
overall. Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Hakim
Warrick had 18 points and eight rebounds to lead the Orangemen.
Pittsnogle finished with nine points and nine rebounds, Josh
Yeager also had nine points and Johannes Herber seven for West
The Orangemen fell behind by 15 points before rallying for a
94-80 road win over the Mountaineers 18 days ago. This time they
built a 35-17 halftime advantage because West Virginia just
couldn't hit a shot against Syracuse's active man-to-man defense.
After hitting two of their first three shots against Syracuse's
2-3 zone, the Mountaineers went 4-for-26 over the final 18:05 of
the first half as the Orangemen switched to a man. West Virginia
finished the half at 20.7 percent and went 17-for-63 (27 percent)
for the game, its worst shooting performance of the season.
"That is unselfish, well-coached, look-for-each-other
defense,'' West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "They believe in
each other, they believe in the system. That's a great group.''
Syracuse was 14-for-34 in the first half. Anthony and guard
Gerry McNamara, the highest-scoring freshman duo in the nation at
nearly 36 points per game, were a combined 3-for-16 from the floor
for eight points.
At least part of the Mountaineers' strategy was working.
"The whole thing for us was to take McNamara out of his game
because he's their best alley-oop passer,'' Belein said. "But when
Anthony banked one home and Duany hit three or four it blew that
game plan. That was our only chance.''
Anthony got going in the second half, hitting all five of his
shots from the floor and eight of 10 free throws for his 15th
double-double of the season.
"It was our defense, man,'' said Anthony, who scored nine
points to key a 21-2 run that began midway through the half. "I
thought we did a good job with Pittsnogle and Schifino. It was us
defensively stopping everything.''
After Schifino hit a 3 to open the second half, Syracuse went on
a 13-4 spurt capped by a 3 from Duany and a floater in the lane by
Billy Edelin off McNamara's pass that gave the Orangemen a 48-24
lead at 15:55.
Syracuse blocked nine shots, had nine steals, forced 15
turnovers and held the Mountaineers, who started three freshmen and
two sophomores, to 6-for-26 shooting on 3-pointers.
"We have a lot of young guys out there, and that's going to
happen,'' Yeager said. "You need experience, size and athleticism.
It's going to take us a year.''