Ten Feet In, Nine Feet Out

West Virginia dug themselves a huge first half hole against George Washigton, and despite an improved second half were unable to climb all the way out as the Colonials held on for a 70-64 win.

The Mountaineers fell behind by as many as 18 points in the first half, which George Washington dominated on the offensive glass.

The Colonials outrebounded WVU by 10 in the opening period, with many of those leading to second chance points on the offensive end.

"I've just got to keep searching for some answers," head coach John Beilein said after the game. "In the zone, it's hard to identify the responsibilities for who is supposed to be blocking out, and in man to man they got penetration, and when we rotated they got some holes.

"Is it athleticism, technique or being in the right position? I think it's a little of all three, but the putbacks really hurt us."

After an uncharacteristically poor first half, where WVU turned the ball over 13 times and shot just 29% from the field, the Mountaineers got rolling early in the second. Kevin Pittsnogle fueled an early run with eight straight points, and the Mountaineers rallied to forge a tie with 13:00 to go in the game.

The effort of the rally seemed to drain the Mountaineers, however, as George Washington again asserted control on the offensive end to regain the lead. The Colonials scored five straight points, all off interior play, to move back in front. And although WVU kept the game close, the Mountaineers were never able to challenge for the lead again.

"We played the 1-3-1 against them because of their quickness," Beilein said, "We planned to play more 2-3, but they have seen a lot of that, and they were really torching it. We decided to get out of it and go with the 1-3-1, but at the end they got two putbacks on offense, because it's a weak rebounding defense."

WVU was again crushed on the boards, yielding a 44-32 margin to GW. Also contributing to the Mountianeers' defeat was an average to poor shooting afternoon (42.9%) and 19 turnovers.

Kevin Pittsnogle had 18 points to lead the Mountaineers, and Drew Schifino added 16. The road doesn't get any easier,as WVU will face either Gonzaga or Maryland tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.


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