Freshman forward Da'Sean Butler was one of the few bright spots on the night as West Virginia lost to the Pitt Panthers.
Butler finished 5-12 from the floor, including 2-6 from behind the three point line to total a team-high 14 points in 29 minutes of play. The reigning Big East rookie of the week was given the tall task of guarding Pitt center Aaron Gray for a number of possessions, but for the most part held his own against the Panthers' standout big man. Butler also finished with a steal and a rebound.
Something that didn't show up on the stat sheet was Butler's swagger. The Newark, N.J. native played with a lot of confidence in his first game against Pitt, and didn't back down from taking big shots down the stretch.
West Virginia's defense was not terrible, as it held Pitt to 60 points and forced 16 turnovers. In comparison, though, the Panther defense was magnificent. Pitt held the Mountainners to an icy 24 percent from the field in the first half, including just 3-16 from behind the arc. The Mountaineers did somewhat better in the second half, finishing 10-24 from the floor but again could only hit a trio of shots from downtown.
Another area in which the Panthers dominated was on the glass. While it should come as no surprise that a team with a player who rebounds as well as Gray does would win the rebounding battle, West Virginia could not afford to lose the battle by ten, much less the 17 rebound difference that the game ended with. With as bad as the Mountaineers were shooting the ball, the only way to steal points against the Pitt defense was with extended possessions that came from tip-outs and offensive rebounds. That didn't happen, as West Virginia managed just two offensive rebounds on the night.
Point guard Darris Nichols turned in a quiet, but solid performance in the Backyard Brawl. Nichols finished with eight points, three assists, two steals, and four rebounds in 39 minutes of play.