Basketball Notes

A few bits and bytes from around the WVU Coliseum as West Virginia prepares for Pittsburgh.

One of the biggest match ups (literally) on the floor of the Peterson Events Center on Thursday night will be between Pitt center Aaron Gray, and his Mountaineer counterpart Kevin Pittsnogle. While the two players have contrasting styles, their production is equally important to the success of their teams.

Gray, a 7'0" 270 pound junior, is a prime candidate for the Big East's "Most Improved Player Award." He averages 13.7 points, and 11 rebounds per game.

"Aaron Gray this season has become a pro prospect. He's hard to stop," said West Virginia head coach John Beilein. "He's a full seven feet, and he's long."

Pittsnogle knows he'll have his hands full in man-to-man defense with Gray.

"He's a lot better, and a lot stronger. He's a good player," said Pittsnogle.

Pittsnogle has watched film of Pitt's loss to Georgetown Sunday afternoon. During the defeat in the MCI Center, the Hoyas were able to hold Gray scoreless in the second half.

"I watched the game, and (Georgetown) did a great job of playing the match-up zone with him. Hopefully our 1-3-1 will be that effective."

On the other end of the court though, it will be interesting to see if Gray can step out and guard Pittsnogle around the perimeter. If he doesn't, the Martinsburg native is sure to get his fair share of open looks from the perimeter, which is never a good thing for the opponent.

RIFLE REPORTS

  • During Wednesday's practice at the Coliseum, X's and O's weren't the only thing the Mountaineers were going over. During the scrimmage portions of the practice, loud music was piped into the Coliseum to simulate the expected crowd noise for tomorrow night's game.

    The Mountaineers didn't seem to have any problem communicating through the music. Hopefully that will carry over to the game.

  • The next few games could see Joe Herber's name inserted into the Mountaineer record books on multiple occasions. With 26 minutes of action tomorrow night, Herber will move into first place all-time in minutes played at WVU. He currently sits in third with 3,763 minutes played. Dale Blaney (3,771) and Darryl Prue (3,788) will likely be looking up at Herber in that category by the conclusion of tomorrow night's game.

    In addition to the minutes played record, West Virginia's ironman is two starts away from tying Chris Brooks' school record of 118.

    The Academic All-American is also just 42 points shy of 1,000. In fact, two other Mountaineers in addition to Herber, have a shot at reaching 1,000 career points. Patrick Beilein is 85 short of the mark, while Mike Gansey is 190 points away. Kevin Pittsnogle passed the 1,000 point plateau during last season's NCAA Tournament.


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