There was none of the crisp cutting, sharp passing or battling defense that has come to characterize the 2002-03 WVU basketball team. Instead, the Mountaineers seemed to be suffering from the most severe case of bus lag ever experienced by a team after an 80 mile trip.
Instead, WVU watched as Pitt stole passes, stripped ballhandlers, and scored easy bucket after easy bucket on the way to a 36 point blowout.
The Panthers, of course, deserve credit. They aren't number seven in the country for nothing. However, their cause was greatly aided by the most lackadaisical effort put forth by the Mountaineers this year.
Head coach John Beilein, after showing a great deal of frustration in the first half, seemed as resigned as his team was to the inevitable loss.
"Pitt is very good, and these things happen," Beilein said after the loss. "We lost some confidence at the end of the first half, especially with the easy shots we missed."
"They just pushed us around and got easy buckets," Jarmon Durisseau-Collins said after the game. "This is probably our worst effort of the season."
After seeing a six point deficit balloon to seventeen in the final four minutes of the first half, WVU failed to mount any of the comeback efforts they have been able to make in most games this year. The Mountaineers scored only nine points in the first 12:43 of the second half.
"They're probably one of the best defenses in the country. That's why they win a lot of games," sophomore guard Drew Schifino said after the game.
WVU now faces an almost must win game on the road against Rutgers on Saturday. A win would give WVU a 2-0 sweep of the Knights and keep Rutgers behind the Mountaineers in the Big East standings, while a loss would vault Rutgers ahead of WVU.
"We have to convince the team that it's just a loss," Beilein said of his strategy for snapping the team back after such a poor effort. "It's the same as Georgetown. A loss is a loss."