For the first half and the first few minutes of the second half, West Virginia was able to hang around with fourth-rated Pitt inside the WVU Coliseum.
The play of freshman forward Devin Ebanks was a big reason why. Ebanks scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds in the fifth loss of the season for the Mountaineers. Defensively, the Long Island City, N.Y. did an admirable job in trying to slow down Pitt standout Sam Young, holding the Panthers' leading scorer to just five shots and six points in the first half.
Unfortunately for Ebanks and the Mountaineers, his play was a microcosm of the team as a whole. Neither he nor the team were able to replicate their first-half performance as Young and the talented Panthers pulled away.
The Panthers shot 60 percent in the first half and 53.6 percent for the game in the win, with nearly everyone on the court in a blue jersey knocking down open shots when given the opportunity. The Mountaineers, by comparison, shot 41 percent for the game, but missed many of their open looks.
John Flowers, who has by and large been effective off the bench as a sophomore, was held scoreless in four shot attempts and grabbed just one rebound. Cam Thoroughman also struggled, playing just five minutes and not grabbing a rebound while also having a diffcult time dealing with Pitt standout DeJuan Blair on the other end of the court.
One bright spot off the bench was the brief cameo by junior college transfter Dee Proby, who grabbed three rebounds in three minutes of mop up duty.