West Virginia beats St. John's, 64-60

D'or Fischer and Kevin Pittsnogle combined for 27 points as No. 21 West Virginia used its inside game to beat St. John's 64-60 Saturday.

The Mountaineers (11-1, 1-1 Big East) saw their three-point offense stymied for the second straight game. But this time outside-minded WVU had an inside answer in its centers.

Fischer scored 18 points and had three blocks to move into 23rd place on the all-time NCAA list with 362. Pittsnogle came off the bench to add nine points as West Virginia rebounded from an 84-46 loss Jan. 5 at Villanova.

It was WVU's worst loss in six seasons and left the Mountaineers wondering if they could run a slow halfcourt offense against more man defenses. It proved it could.

The more athletic Red Storm (6-6, 0-2) took a cue from Villanova and forced West Virginia away from the three-pointer and inside to Fischer. The center responded with WVU's first seven points as the Mountaineers took an early 20-10 lead.

Fischer then hit four consecutive free throws after the Red Strom narrowed the edge to 52-47 on a Daryll Hill lay-in with 7:19 left. The 6-11 Fischer went 6-7 from the foul line and is now 37 of 41 from the stripe to lead the Big East.

He had 11 points in the first half, including a pair of dunks when St. John's pulled within four points, 24-20, with 8:01 left in the half.

Mike Gansey added 12 for WVU. Hill led St. John's with a career-high 29 points in the inside vs. outside battle between the teams. Gansey and Hill shared Big East Offensive Player of the Week honors. P> Both teams had 10 first half turnovers, and finished with 18 (St. John's) and 19 (WVU). WVU led 35-29 at the break.

WVU started backup freshman point guard Darris Nichols because junior starter J.D. Collins was injured.

West Virginia had won the previous two games against St. John's by 43 points. The Mountaineers are 4-0 in Big East home openers under head coach John Beilein.

Nine of WVU's last 13 Big East wins are at home, while St. John's has lost its last 10 Big East road games. It went 0-8 in conference road games last year.

West Virginia is off to its best 12-game start since 1997-98. That was the last season it went to the NCAA.

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