We're breaking a rule here - but with good reason.
Our rule here at the Blue & Gold News and BlueGoldNews.com has been to pick just one player for our game honors, but we can't do that tonight. Following West Virginia's courageous second half rally against Texas, we are naming the five senior members of the team as our players of the game.
We're not doing it lightly, or just for sentimental reasons. We are doing so because each player made valuable contributions to the rally. Each player did everything he could do, battling back from bloody noses and sprained ankles, and taking every punch the Longhorns could throw at them. And although they came up just short, it was only on the scoreboard. In the hearts of Mountaineer fans, this team will always be champions.
Mike Gansey battled through numerous physical ailments to lead WVU in rebounds with five -- not an insignificant feat against the taller, longer, higher-jumping horns. He also slashed to the hoop for three baskets, and drained a trio of triples.
Kevin Pittsnogle hit five threes, including an unbelievably tough shot to tie the game, and finished with a team-high 19 points.
J.D. Collins played tough again on both ends of the floor, finishing with six assists, two rebounds and two steals against just two turnovers.
Joe Herber shook off a bad first half to hit a pair of big three-pointers. He also resumed his pell-mell drives to the hoop that resulted in two baskets, several fouls on Longhorn defenders, and four assists.
Patrick Beilein made four of six shots from beyond the arc and finished with 14 points and four assists.
Without any one of those players, WVU doesn't rally from its 12-point halftime deficit, and the Mountaineers don't have a chance to send the game into overtime. Although we'll probably never do so again, in this case, there's simply no way to distinguish between the performances they put on during the final half of their Mountaineer careers.