MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Kevin Pittsnogle is so unaccustomed to
starting that he had to temporarily leave West Virginia's game
early on against Pittsburgh (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 16 AP) to catch his breath.
When he returned, he gave Pitt lots of problems.
Pittsnogle scored eight of his career-high 27 points in overtime
to lead West Virginia to an 83-78 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday
night. The 6-foot-11 Pittsnogle, starting for just the second time
this season, was averaging 8 points a game. He got the start
because center D'or Fischer did not play due to illness.
"When I got my second wind pretty fast, I was ready to go,"
said Pittsnogle, whose previous high was 26 points in 2003. "My
performance wasn't enough to write me in the history book, but
beating Pitt makes it a lot better."
West Virginia (13-7, 3-6 Big East) broke a five-game losing
streak to their rival 70 miles to the north.
Pittsnogle converted a three-point play and a 3-pointer a minute
apart to give the Mountaineers their biggest lead, 73-66, with 2:08
left in overtime.
"Pittsnogle is a hard matchup for us and when he's shooting the
ball from [outside], it becomes very difficult to guard for our
bigger guys," said Pitt coach Jamie Dixon. "Sometimes guys step
up in the absence of other guys, and that's exactly what he did."
Fischer is WVU's third-leading scorer and second-leading
rebounder. Pittsnogle filled in well, making 10-of-17 field goals.
The Mountaineers committed just four turnovers and erased a
double-digit deficit in the second half to beat a ranked team for
the first time in five tries during a grueling three-week stretch.
Hundreds of fans from the student section stormed the court and
mobbed the Mountaineer players after the final buzzer. The WVU band
played "Happy Birthday" and the leftover crowd sang to third-year
coach John Beilein, who celebrated his 52nd birthday Saturday.
"It showed me some strength from the team that we haven't seen
in the last couple of games," Beilein said. "When your birthday's
on February 5th and you're a basketball coach, you have a lot of
bad birthdays, too."
West Virginia's 40 3-point attempts were a school record and the
most in the Big East this season. It fell one shy of the conference
record set by St. John's at Syracuse in 2003.
"WVU got a lot of second and third shots and I think that had a
lot to do with their win, the long rebounds that we talked about
when they shoot 40 3s," Dixon said. "They seemed to make the shot
after those rebounds in the second half."
The Panthers' four losses have been by a combined 14 points, and
seven of their eight Big East games have been decided by five
points or fewer.
After Pittsnogle gave the Mountaineers their seven-point lead in
overtime, the Panthers were forced to foul the rest of the way.
West Virginia, which went 18-of-20 from the free throw line, made
11-of-13 in overtime to clinch the win.
West Virginia made just 2-of-17 3-point attempts in the first
half but eventually got hot, sinking seven of them in a 10-minute
stretch after halftime to erase an 11-point deficit.
Pittsnogle's 3-pointer put the Mountaineers ahead 52-51 with
7:09 left, their first lead since early in the game. Mike Gansey
hit back-to-back long shots to push the lead to 58-53 with 4:23
Pittsburgh, coming off a 20-point win over Providence on Monday,
shot 50 percent from the floor for the game but went six minutes
without a field goal until Taft's dunk with 3:15 left. His floater
in the lane tied the score at 60 with 1:30 remaining.
The teams traded points the rest of the way, with Troutman's
tip-in with 4 seconds left sending the game into overtime tied at