Perhaps the only thing tougher than suffering through an "ohfer" is starting out 0-2 in the next game. That's just what happened to Kevin Pittsnogle, but the 6-11 Mountaineer stalwart shook off the demons to power WVU past Georgetown and earn our player of the game honors.
Pittsnogle had to be saying "not again" after missing his first two shots against Georgetown, but he busted the ghosts of his last game by scoring 25 points on 10-15 shooting and outdeuling Georgetown's Jeff Green in a magnificent battle of offensive powers.
Pittsnogle hit his first shot, a tough one-handed jump hook, to tie the score at 7-7 early in the first half, and the successful conversion seemed to reignite his confidence. From that point on, his shots, even those that missed, were taken with the same air of success that has marked much of his senior season, and enough of them went in to give the Mountaineers a huge road win.
Pittsnogle was also intrumental in locking up the win down the stretch. With WVU leading by just 54-51, Pittsnogle shook free on a screen and hit a layup to put WVU up by five. On the next possession, he found a backcutting Mike Gansey for a layup, then followed that up with another short shot to put the Mountaineers up by nine. Finally, on the ensuing possession, he took a pass form Gansey and flipped a short shot into the hoop while being fouled to give WVU an insurmountable 11-point bulge.
Mike Gansey, who appeared to be on his last legs for much of the game, came up with a huge double double. He had 13 points, including four on two big drives in the second half that helped
WVU take command. Perhaps even more importantly, Gansey snared ten rebounds, which not only gave him a double-double but also helped the Mountaineers offset Georgetown's height advantage on the boards.
West Virginia's defense was also a huge factor in the win. After yielding 39 points on 59% shooting in the first half, the Mountaineers clamped down on the Hoyas after the break, allowing just 19 points, five of which came on garbage time points. WVU held Georgetown to just 24% shooting in the second half, including 2-14 from three-point range.
West Virginia's determination to drive the ball on offense also yielded dividends. J.D. Collins set the tone by taking the ball to the rack to open the scoring, and although WVU went through a dry spell in the first half when it stopped attacking the hoop, it rediscovered the formula to fuel its 40 point second half. WVU scored 18 points on direct drives and backdoors, and probably added another 8-10 indirectly via free throws and passes to the post. With Georgetown crowding WVU on the perimeter, the Mountaineers showed they can attack the basket successfully and make defenses pay for not protecting the lane.