Pitt Garners Big Conference Win

Thursday's victory over 10th ranked West Virginia was more than just another notch on the victory belt for Pitt, it kept the Panthers in the conference race for yet another week.

West Virginia's ride into the national top ten didn't last very long.

Thanks to a dominating defensive performance on nationally acclaimed big man Kevin Pittsnogle, who accumulated just zero points of offense, Pittsburgh held on to arguably its biggest victory of the season - handing the Mountaineers its first conference loss in the process - winning 57-53.

The Panthers, who had lost two straight games coming into Thursday's nationally televised contest, rode it's star point guard Carl Krauser at the end, watching as his driving layup with 39 seconds remaining helped the Panthers pull away, avoiding Pitt's first three-game losing streak since late in the 2000-01 season.

Krauser scored five of his eight points in the final minute.

Ronald Ramon and Aaron Gray each added 16 points, but the defense was the story of the game.

West Virginia (17-5, 8-1 Big East) shot miserably -- 34 percent overall and 22 percent (6-of-27) from 3-point range -- in losing its first conference game this season.

"They played tremendous defense on us," WVU coach John Beilein said. "They frustrate you. They're very good defenders, and we as a team have to learn how to handle it when that happens. ... I don't like the way we handled a lot of things, but we are going to learn from this game."

Pittsnogle's 3-point shooting had led two Mountaineers comeback victories over Pitt last season in which he scored a combined 49 points, but he quickly got into foul trouble while missing a number of off-balance shots from well beyond the 3-point line in the first half.

The 6-foot-10 senior fouled out with 6:42 remaining after going 0-of-12, including six from 3-point range.

Pittsnogle, averaging 19.3 points, hadn't scored fewer than eight this season and had been in double figures in 15 of his previous 16. He hadn't been shut out since an 84-46 loss to Villanova last season.

Pitt remained unbeaten (14-0) at home while West Virginia lost for the first time in eight road games. Ramon had four 3-pointers while scoring a season high, but was five points off his career high of 21.

Reports and comments from the Associated Press was used in this story


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