Someone might want to check the locker of Devin Ebanks for a pair of ruby slippers. Because for West Virginia's standout freshman forward, there has truly been no place like home for this week's annual Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. For the second straight night, Ebanks was the star as WVU advanced to the tournament semifinals with a 74-60 win over Pitt.
In Wednesday night's win over Notre Dame, the native of nearby Long Island City, N.Y. grabbed a jaw-dropping 18 rebounds to lead the way for the Mountaineers. On Thursday night against the heavily-favored Panthers, it was his offense that stole the show. Ebanks scored a career-high 20 points to pace West Virginia.
The ever-improving freshman hit a couple of nice turnaround jump shots, and punctuated the win with a fast break dunk over Pitt's Jermaine Dixon off of a nice feed from Darryl "Truck" Bryant.
WVU assistant coach Billy Hahn noted on his postgame interview with play-by-play voice Tony Caridi that in order to tailor the zone to fit Pitt, WVU's coaching staff watched tapes from the John Beilein era. The zone was the defense of choice for Beilein, who coached the Mountaineers from 2002-07.
Flowers finished with nine points and five rebounds in 22 minutes.
One question that might be asked now is whether or not the loss takes away a potential No. 1 seed for Pitt? If it ultimately does cost the Panthers that, the win for WVU fans will be even more sweet.