Hollywood Ending

The Mountaineers got what they were looking for when they flew across the country to take on UCLA. In the presence of the great John Wooden, West Virginia took out the UCLA Bruins by a final of 60-56.

Leading the way for West Virginia on both ends of the court was senior forward Mike Gansey, who finished with 24 points and four steals. None of his four swipes were bigger than his last, which salted away the road victory for the Mountaineers.

Gansey picked Bruin point guard Jordan Farmar clean to thwart any hopes of UCLA forcing overtime with less than ten seconds to play.

"He had the ball in front of me and I just got lucky and tipped it and stole it from him," Gansey said outside the Mountaineer locker room after the win. "I'm feeling pretty happy right now."

The Mountaineers came out hot in the first half, particularly shooting the ball. They finished the game 7-18 from three-point range, and were able to build up a 17 point halftime lead courtesy of the long range shooting.

When UCLA tried to take away the perimeter, Beilein instructed his charges to go backdoor against the Bruins. This resulted in several easy layups for the visitors, and left many of the 12,035 in attendance shaking their heads.

The Bruins were able to take Kevin Pittsnogle out of the game from a scoring standpoint as the Mountaineers' leading scorer finished with just eight points on 4-15 shooting, including 0-5 from three-point range. But Kevin persevered and contributed to the game in several other ways. By commanding the attention of the Bruin defenders, Pittsnogle opened things up for his teammates. He finished with nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocked shots to fill out the stat sheet.

Farmer, the silky smooth Bruin point guard, led UCLA with 22 points. But at times he was flustered by the 1-3-1 defense, and finsished the game with five turnovers to three assists in 36 minutes.

There were several hundred Mountaineer fans in attendance, which made the "Let's go...Mountaineers" chant very feasible when the visitors led by double digits for much of the first half. According to Bruin fans, there were more Mountaineers in the house today than there were USC Trojans when the cross-town rivals met on Wednesday night in historic Pauley Pavilion.

Farmar wasn't the only Bruin to have the "deer in the headlights" look against the 1-3-1 zone of West Virginia. Arron Afflalo, who came into the game averaging a Bruin-best 18.3 points per game, finished with just four points on 1-9 from the field.

Patrick Beilein, Joe Herber, and Frank Young all finished with eight points for the Mountaineers. Young added five rebounds in 24 minutes of play.

Starting point guard J.D. Collins was saddled with early foul trouble, picking up two fouls in the first 1:10 of the first half. Sophomore Darris Nichols came off the bench for 20 minutes, and finished with four points and zero turnovers.

The win was Beilein's 13th win over a ranked opponent since he came to Morgantown four seasons ago, with just two of those wins coming at home.

West Virginia will fly home tonight, and will next play against Marshall on Wednesday night in Charleston.

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