Hoyas blitzed in second half

West Virginia is becoming as known for second half comebacks as it is for shooting 3-pointers. The No. 16 Mountaineers rallied for the second time in as many games, beating Georgetown 68-61 on Wednesday to take sole possession of first place in the Big East.

West Virginia (11-3, 3-0 Big East) is off to its best start in its 11 years in the league. It trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half against the Hoyas (10-3, 2-1) one game after being behind by 15 at No. 3 Villanova and coming back to win.

This time, it pieced together a 13-0 run spanning both halves to take a 25-23 lead after trailing 23-12 with 4:55 left in the first half. Georgetown did not score in the final 6:55 of the first period.

"We really concentrated on defense, which led to our run," WVU's Patrick Beilein said.

Kevin Pittsnogle scored 23 points, including seven in a key 24-12 run after Georgetown tied it at 33-33 with 14:36 left. WVU, which missed 14 of its first 16 3-point shots, took a 57-45 edge at the 4:00 mark on the rally by hitting five 3-pointers in nine baskets.

"We had a bad stretch there," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "They're always going to have a gun fighter's chance because they have guys that can score. You're not going to shut that out. We just had to come back. But anyone, regardless of where you're from, that doesn't have an appreciation for what they do doesn't know anything about this game."

WVU had never won more than two straight games to start league play, and had only started 1-0 three times, losing the next game on all three occasions. Georgetown's 2-0 start was its best since the 2000-01 season.

The game was a sharp contrast to the win at Villanova. WVU played well in the first half of that game, but the previously unbeaten Wildcats hit 12 of their first 14 3-pointers lead at the half. The Mountaineers started cold this time, missing 19 of its first 24 shots overall.

"We came out lackadaisical," Pittsnogle said. "Physically, this was one of the toughest games we have had all year. After halftime, we came out and put their backs against the wall."

Beilein, WVU's all-time 3-point leader, hit two 3s and Pittsnogle added a 3-pointer and three-point play as the Mountaineers – who hit seven of 14 3-pointers in the second half – doubled-up Georgetown in the 10-minute push after the 33-33 tie.

Beilein was honored before the game with a ball commemorating his record 201 3-pointers. He now has 204 and Pittsnogle has 200, providing for what could be a wild west shootout the rest of the year.

Georgetown pulled to within 66-61 with 26 seconds left. Pittsnogle and Mike Gansey added one free throw each for the final margin.

Gansey and Beilein added 15 and 13 points, respectively, for WVU, which had four players in double figures. Georgetown was led by Jeff Green's 17 points. Roy Hibbert scored 16.

West Virginia actually out-rebounded the taller Hoyas 33-29. It was just the second time WVU outrebounded a Division I foe this season.

"To be honest, it concerns me that we actually outrebounded somebody," WVU coach John Beilein joked.

Georgetown's defense was ranked first in the Big East in total scoring (57 points per game) coming into the contest, but West Virginia's 68 points tied the most allowed by it this season. The Mountaineers scored 47 second-half points, the most Georgetown has allowed in any half this year.

Georgetown outscored WVU 32-22 in the paint, but the Mountaineers had 15 bench points to the Hoyas' four. WVU has won a season-best nine games in a row. It snapped Georgetown's seven-game winning streak. The Hoyas had won nine of the last 10 meetings. WVU had had fewer turnovers than its foe in all but one game this season.

West Virginia plays host to Marquette Jan. 14. It can match its longest winning streak in 15 years with a victory.

"Three and zero is 3-0, and it's great, but tomorrow we have to wake up and worry about Marquette," John Beilein said.

Georgetown lost its composure with two minutes left. Ashanti Cook was called for an intentional foul. A possession later, Darrel Owens fouled out and was then whistled for a technical after talking back to an official. He was ejected.

WVU recognized a moment of silence for the 12 miners killed at Sago mine in Tallmansville, 75 miles south of Morgantown. It was WVU's first home game since the Jan. 3 tragedy.

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