West Virginia's gritty point guard was one of the few Mountaineers who didn't show reluctance to go to the basket against Pitt.
Collins, who scored WVU's first field goal almost seven minutes into the game, finsihed with nine points in WVU's ugly loss to Pitt. The senior point guard, along with Joe Herber
, were the only Mountaineers to attack the basket with any consistency against Pitt's sticky man-to-man defense.
Collins finished the game with nine points, most prodcued as the result of penetration into the heart of the Pitt defense. He also played his usual solid game on the back of WVU's 1-3-1 defense.
With Joe Herber, Mike Gansey and Darris Nichols all saddled with two early first half fouls, freshman Alex Ruoff helped plug the gap. The calm Florida native did a solid job on the point of the 1-3-1, creating one turnover and helping force a pair of Pitt shot clock violations. On offense, after getting his feet wet through several possessions, Ruoff drifted to the corner for a pass and buried a three-pointer to help draw WVU within two points late in the period.
With Pittsnogle on the bench, Joe Herber gave the Mountaineers their only semblance of life down the stretch. With the Mountaineers trailing 47-40, Herber scored WVU's next three baskets, all from the center position, to help cut the lead to three. however, even Herber's jack-of-all-trades play wasn't enough to push WVU over the top.
For the first time in many games, WVU appeared to back down from a challenge. Head coach John Beilein pointed out that in games such as this, there are one or two key stretches where mental toughness is of paramount importance to staying in the game. The Mountaineers, at least on this night, failed to rise to that challenge as they have in most other games this year. Thus, West Virginia headed back down the interstate with its first conference loss.