Kevin Pittsnogle's solid performace in the first round win over Southern Illinois was worthy of our player of the game honors.
Despite being blanketed by Salluki defenders the entire afternoon, Kevin was still able to "Pittsnogle" the Missouri Valley Conference champions. He finished with 18 points on 7-15 shooting, and grabbed four rebounds.
It was refreshing to watch the Mountaineers get an all-around effort from the whole team. Part of the reason for the late season slide was the fact that only one or two players per game were playing consistently on both ends of the court. When West Virginia needed a bucket, a stop, or a rebound, it seemed like a different player was making plays every time.
The West Virginia bench was as effective as it has been all season long. Patrick Beilein, Darris Nichols, Alex Ruoff, and Rob Summers combined for 21 of West Virginia's 64 points.
I wonder how many fans that had given up on the 1-3-1 defense are back on board after today's game? West Virginia's "three zone" was as effective as it's been in weeks, which resulted in 15 Southern Illinois turnovers. When they weren't forcing turovers, Mountianeer defenders were getting active deflecting passes and shutting down passing lanes while holding the Salluki's to just 46 points. West Virginia also outrebounded Chris Lowery's team by a 30-22 margin.
In the second half it looked like the Mike Gansey that Mountaineer fans love was back. After leaving the Big East Tournament loss to Pitt with an abdominal pull last Thursday, Mike had some rust to shake off in the first half. But after intermission the senior forward got himself together and finished the game with 10 points, four rebounds, two steals, and a ferocious blocked shot.
Junior forward Frank Young also had a solid all-around game with eight points and seven rebounds after a not-so-good showing in Madison Square Garden.