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WVU overcomes poor-shooting effort, downs Cincy

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia remained the only
unbeaten team in the Big East because of another 3-point binge.

The Mountaineers hit seven 3-pointers in their first 10 shots of
the second half and went on to a 66-57 victory over Cincinnati on
Saturday.

West Virginia (17-4, 8-0) became just the fifth Big East school
-- and the first since Connecticut in 1993-94 -- to win its first
eight conference games.

"We wanted to play more aggressive in the second half," said
West Virginia's Mike Gansey, who scored 14 points. "Kevin
[Pittsnogle] hit some 3s and our energy turned up."

Pittsnogle, who scored all 12 of his points on 3-pointers,
became a first-time father on Friday evening when his wife,
Heather, gave birth to Kwynsie James.

"Energy-wise, everything was hard," said Pittsnogle, who was
4-of-17 from the field. "Mentally, I could focus, and my teammates
needed me. Now I just want to take the next few days and rest."

Eric Hicks had 22 points and 11 rebounds -- his eighth
double-double in the last 11 games -- for Cincinnati (15-8, 4-5).

West Virginia trailed by three points at halftime due to a
combination of lackluster offense and Cincinnati's superior inside
presence. The Mountaineers missed 13 of their first 17 3-point
shots before tweaking the offense at halftime.

The change -- more backdoor cuts to open up the perimeter --
spurred a 24-12 run to start the second half. All five West
Virginia starters hit at least one 3-pointer during the run.

Sixth-man Patrick Beilein's 3 gave West Virginia its largest
lead, 57-45, with 6:33 remaining. Pittsnogle hit two 3-pointers to
start the run.

Pittsnogle had been up all of Thursday night when his wife went
into labor.

"Kevin is younger than most of our seniors, and some men could
not handle all the attention the way he has," West Virginia coach
John Beilein said. "He is a very special person."

Cincinnati got no closer than seven points after the run and
West Virginia hit five of six free throws down the stretch to seal
the win.

West Virginia blew large second-half leads in its last two games
-- both wins -- but the Mountaineers didn't wait for a nail-biting
finish this time.

West Virginia forced the Bearcats into 18 turnovers overall and
limited them to 36 percent shooting in the second half.

The Mountaineers also shot 36 percent for the game but committed
just five fouls in their first meeting with Cincinnati in
Morgantown in 27 years. Cincinnati attempted just four free throws.

"It's hard for this team to play catch-up against a quality
team in this environment," Cincinnati interim coach Andy Kennedy
said. "I thought our shot selection was a little bit poor. We're
dependent on making perimeter jumpers and those things come and
go."

Jihad Muhammad had 15 points for the Bearcats and James White
added 10.

West Virginia heads into the toughest part of its conference
schedule with three straight road games at No. 9 Pittsburgh,
Georgetown (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) and Seton Hall before returning home to play top-ranked
Connecticut.

Five of its eight remaining Big East games are on the road.

"Today's win was much-needed before the road trip," John
Beilein said. "I can't really say I am comfortable now. I think
our schedule has helped."