Pregame Rituals Pay Off

WVU's Kevin Pittsnogle treats pregame warmups a bit differently than most players, but it's tough to argue with the results.

While most players take advantage of the entire warmup period, to get shots and prepare for the upcoming game, WVU's sophomore bomber can often be found sitting out part of the final free shooting session.

"If you watch me, I do that just about every game," Pittsnogle said after WVU's 79-72 win over Rhode Island in the NIT. "I don't like shooting the whole warmup, because it gets too tiring. I think I shot too much over at Kent State, and I kind of got tired - well, maybe not tired, that's no excuse, but I don't need to shoot that much. So, for nw, I'm going to stick to what I've been doing - take some shots, and then go sit down.

"I'm just looking to get my arms and legs warm and get into a rhythm," the Martinsburg, W. Va. native said of his prep work. "Once I feel like I have that, I'll just go and sit down and rest and wait for the game to start."

The results of his pregame ritual paid big dividends for Pittsnogle and the Mountaineers against the Rams. After suffering through a tough shooting evening at Kent State, Pittsnogle canned four of his six three point shots on Friday night to help WVU build an early lead. Pittsnogle also hit both of his free throws on his way to 16 points for the Mountaineers.

Making the performance all the more impressive was the fact that Pittsnogle's time on the floor against the Rams was limited due to foul trouble. However, his shooting prowess allowed him to take advantage of his short playing time. In only 16 minutes of action, he hit five of his nine shots to give hime "point-a-minute" production. Had he gotten his normal 20-25 minutes, he might have put up a huge night.

Another thing that helps Pittsnogle is his shooter's mentality. He doesn't dwell on past performances, and maintains a steady concentration on the next game, even when he's had a subpar performance.

"I just don't think about it," the 6-10 sniper said of his mindset after tough outings. "The Kent State game was like the Marshall game where I went 0-10. I just put it behind me and get ready for the next game."

One other oddity about Pittsnogle is that his pregame shooting often has no bearing on his game performance. On more than on occasion this year, Pittsnogle has been awful in warmups, only to rip the twine once the game begins.

Although he doesn't have any explanation for it, Pittsnogle notes that it does seem to be a pattern, and it played out again on Friday night in Morgantown. in his short warmup, Pittsnogle's shots clanked off the iron, but that was a good sign for those familiar with the West Virginian's pregame routine. And when he stepped out and hit his first shot (a three, naturally) early in the game to give WVU the lead, it was apparent that he was heading for another big night. Courtesy, of course, of a shortened pregame routine replete with missed attempts.


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