Pittsnogle Breakout Carries Mountaineers

WVU's big combination of Kevin Pittsnogle and D'or Fischer tallied 40 of West Virginia's 59 points in the Mountaineers' big win over Seton Hall.

Pittsnogle hit his first three shots of the game and doubled his season free throw output as WVU (12-7, 4-4) downed the visiting Pirates 69-64 in Morgantown. His scoring was complemented by Fischer, who added 16 points as WVU grabbed an important win that puts them squarely back in the middle of the conference.

Despite shooting just 35.7% from the field, WVU was able to squeeze enough out of their offense to complement their solid defensive performance. The Mountaineers turned the ball over just nine times, and were excellent from the free throw line, hitting 79.3% of their attempts (23-29).

The game started out in a closely contested fashion, with neither team able to pull away from the other. Halfway through the opening period, however, the game became more heated, as several poor and disputed calls by the judgment-addled officiating crew of Jim Haney, Will Bush and Fran Connolly got the crowd into the contest. At the same time, WVU was able to push out to an eight-pont lead, but the Pirates (14-5, 4-3) cut it to three at the half on an Andre Barrett jumper.

The second half was more of the same, as the intensity on the floor was fueled by the crowd and its reaction to the shaky officiating, which allowed the game to get out of control. The crew tried to restore orders by whistling technicals on both Seton Hall head coach Louis Orr and WVU's John Beilein, but they did little to curb the chippiness occuring on the floor. Beilein received his technical for say nothing more than "blow the whistle" to Bush.

The second half featured a run by each team before WVU took control at the end. The Mountaineers pushed out to a 13-point advantage after a made free throw by Fischer made the score 53-40 at the 7:28 mark, but the Pirates scored 11 of the next 12 points to cut the margin to three at 54-51. At that point, however, Pittsnogle made perhaps the biggest play of thegame.

Preparing to fire a three-popinter, Pittsnogle found an open D'or Fischer under the hoop for a dunk that pushed the lead back to five. Although the Pirates responded with a pair of Barrett free throws, WVU remained in control by hitting 13 of 16 free throws in the last 2:20 to secure the win.

West Virginia's 1-3-1 defense contained Barrett well, allowing him just 15 points and four assists in 40 minutes of action. Barrett was never able to get the Pirates into the smooth, flowing offense that they typically are able to generate, Fischer, despite blocking just two shots, had opposite number Kelly Whitney intimidated from the outset. In the first four minutes of the game, Whitney, with the ball in the post, committed two travelling violations and missed three short shots, one of them an airball from no more than two feet away. Whitney obviously had one eye out for Fischer as he took the ball inside, and that bad start seemed to carry over through much of the contest.

Joe Herber was the only other Mountaineer in double figures with ten. Tyrone Sally despite scoring just eight points, also had seven rebounds and three assists. West Virginia was only outrebounded by three (41-38) and matched the Pirates' ten offensive rebounds with ten of their own.

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