Take That, Terps

In an outcome that most Mountaineer fans would like to see repeated in about 3 1/2 weeks, West Virginia knocked off the 25th-ranked Maryland Terrapins at the BB&T Classic on Sunday.

In an eerie reversal of WVU's loss to Geroge Washington one day earlier, one team got a big lead, lost it, then rallied to get the win. However, this time it was West Virginia that held the upper hand, coming away with a 78-77 win over their border rivals.

The victory was made all the sweeter due to Maryland's discontinuation of an annual basketball series with the Mountaineers ten years ago.

WVU tied a school record by hitting 13 three pointers. The Terrapins chose to pressure the ball near the midcourt line for much of the game, and when guards Jarmon Durisseau-Collins, Tyler Relph and forward Drew Schifino broke the press, they were often able to find open teammates for uncontested shots.

The Mountaineers twice rode the strength of their trey game to sixteen point leads, the last coming on the strength of three straight Patrick Beilein bombs with 13:38 to go. At that point, the Terps rallied after switching to a more intense man to man defense. West Virginia was unable to get the ball inside or take advantage of several one on one situations, and the Terps were able to cut West Virginia's lead to two points with less than a minute to go. Maryland tied the game on a free throw, and WVU's Drew Schifino was unable to convert a baseline jumper with four seconds left, sending the game into overtime.

Things looked bleak in the extra period as the Terps took a quick three point lead on their opening possesion, but WVU battled back. Kevin Pittsnogle's three pointer gave the Mountaineers the lead back, and Patrick Beilein's pair of free throws gave WVU a four point lead with 12.4 seconds to go. Although Maryland was able to hit a free throw and score on a putback of a missed free throw with less than two seconds remaining, it didn't matter as the Mountaineers held on for the important win.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of WVU's effort came in the bounce back nature of the win. First, WVU reobunded from yesterday's disappointing loss to George Washington. Players who had rough starts or tough stretches int he game, such as Pittsnogle and Schifino, made big shots and key defensive plays in overtime. Tyrone Sally, who played 40 minutes before fouling out, hit a pair of big threes, and D'or Fischer again controlled the lane defensively, keeping Maryland center Jamar Smith from doing greater damage than he could have.

Schifino led a balanced Mountaineer scoring effort with 18 points. Sally had 14, Beilein 11 and Pittsnogle 10. Forward Frank Young hit both of his three point attempts for six crucial markers, and appeared to be much more comfortable in the WVU offense. In all every player but Fischer hit at least one three-pointer.

WVU (3-2, 0-0) now has six days off before facing pesky Duquesne at home Saturday night in the WVU Coliseum.

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