Team Play

West Virginia found needed balance and utilized old reliables in beating Duquense 86-66 Saturday.

Kevin Pittsnogle and Mike Gansey – the team's leading scorers – combined for 41 points. But the pair scored just two of WVU's nine first-half 3-pointers, one off the record 10 set last season versus Louisville in the NCAA Tournament.

Instead, Frank Young hit three 3-pointers, two in WVU's first three field goals, to jumpstart the Mountaineers (6-3), who never trailed.

"Frank hit a couple big ones and that's what really got our defense going," Gansey said. "When we hit shots, we are a tough team to beat."

Young finished with nine points and Jo Herber and Patrick Beilein added 12 and 11, respectively. Beilein came off the bench to hit two 3-pointers in three possessions as West Virginia built a 26-12 lead. Young then hit his third 3-pointer of the half to push the advantage to 29-14 with eight minutes left.

"As long as I keep hitting shots, I can see myself as the third option," said Young.

Behind Pittsnogle and Gansey. Pittsnogle scored 21 points and is WVU's all-time leader in 3-point shooting percentage. Gansey had 20 points. The pair also led West Virginia in rebounds with eight and seven, respectively.

The duo is the second-highest scoring tandem in the Big East behind Villanova's Randy Foye and Allan Ray, which combine to average 43 points per game. Pittsnogle and Gansey collectively average 37.6 points per game.

No other Mountaineer has led the team in scoring in any game.

Duquesne (1-5) was led by DeVario Hudson's 16 points. Three other players scored at least 11 points for the Dukes, who started the season 1-5 for the third time in five years.

The Mountaineers had scored five 3-pointers from four different players in its first seven shots to take a 21-12 lead with 11:15 left in the first half.

It ballooned to 39-18 on Gansey's lay-up six minutes later off a steal by Young and reached 21 points twice more before the half. WVU led 48-33 at the break, tying a record for most first half points scored this season.

"Frank's one of our glue guys on the team," Gansey said. "When he plays well, it seems like we all play well. Some teams might try and shut me and Kevin out, and that leaves Frank open. That shows you can't key on us."

WVU took its biggest lead, 71-39, on Darris Nichols' running lay-in with 11 minutes remaining before being outscored 27-15 after it emptied the bench. The only thing that went remotel;y wrong came at the end of the game, when the Mountaineer mascot shot the gun, inexplicably, with 4 seconds left.

West Virginia had 22 assists against just eight turnovers. Duquesne had 19 turnovers, the third consecutive game WVU has forced at least that many. The Mountaineers lead the Big East with 95 steals.

"We don't get a lot of offensive rebounds, so steals give us a possession we wouldn't normally have," WVU head coach John Beilein said. "Because we are not a great defensive rebounding team, it's tough to get a fast break. How do you do it? We steal. It never gets to the rim."

West Virginia made its first 13 free throws and threatened to set a new school record for fewest misses in one game before Beilein missed the team's 14th foul shot. Beilein ironically tied a 1975 school record for consecutive free throws at 38 last season, then missed his 39th try.

The Mountaineers finished 13 of 16 from the line, a season-best. It averages just 11.5 free throws per game, among the lowest in the nation. Duquesne made all five of its first-half foul shots only to finish six of 12.

The Dukes are hitting just 37.2% of their shots from the field and 27.4% from 3-point range. All but one of their losses – the Dec. 7 game at Pitt – have come by at least 15 points.

"We didn't have the time we needed to prepare for this game," Duquesne head coach Danny Nee said. "Beilein throws a couple of tweaks into their 1-3-1 and it's hard to simulate in practice."

WVU's 11th-ranked football team was honored at halftime. It finished the season 10-1 and will face No. 8 Georgia (10-2) in the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl.

Box Score

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