The Song Remains The Same

West Virginia once again played hard, and once again came up just short, this time by the score of 69-67. in front of a national television audience against Georgetown.

WVU (13-14, 4-11), got off to their typical slow start, falling behind 11-1 and giving the visiting Hoyas an early cushion that proved to be the difference in the game. The Hoyas shot 50% from the field in the opening half and led by 11, 39-28, at the break.

"We needed to shoot better in the first healf," head coach John Beilein noted. WVU shot just 32%from the field in the first half. "If we can't shoot threes, it's hard for us to win the game."

The Mountaineers hit only 25% of their three pointers, misfiring on 21 of 28 attempts.

The Hoyas, meanwhile, rode the mystical shooting of Gerald Riley, who hit 5-10 from three point range on the way to a game high 23 points. Riley's run of threes game a nice counterbalance to Georgetown's inside attack, which was paced, as usual, by stongman Mike Sweetney, who had 18 points and 16 rebounds.

Facing a 14 point deficit in the second half, WVU again mounted one of their trademark rallies, finally tying the score at 63-63 on a Kevin Pittsnogle dunk with 1:20 to go. After Georgetown regained the lead by one on a Brandon Bowman free throw, Drew Schifino appeared to be fouled by Mike Sweetney on a layup attempt, but no call was forthcoming. Kevin Pittsnogle snared the offensive rebound, but was mugged by Drew Hall, which gave possesion back to the Hoyas.

Georgetown (14-12, 6-9) pushed the lead to three on a pair of Tony Bethel free throws, but Pittsnogle answered with a pair of his own to cut the lead back to one. Mike Sweetney then hit a pair of free throws, but Patrick Beilein hit a layup after being pinballed through the lane to put WVU back within one point at 68-67.

The Mountaineers then missed a three pointer with three seconds left, but fouled Georgetown's Drew Hall with 2.6 seconds to go. Hall made one of two free throws, and then the madness really set in.

On the ensuing inbounds play, WVU threw the ball to Drew Schifino at halfcourt, where Drew Hall spiked it out of bounds while hammering Schifino to the floor. After reviewing the play on a monitor, the officials decided that Georgtown had touched the inbounds pass, and thus ran one full second off the clock.

WVU still had time to get off a shot, but a Drew Schifino heave at the buzzer came up short. Beilein, who had called the play thinking there was 2.6 seconds left, was caught by surprise when the officials took a second off the clock.

"I would have liked to run a different play," Beilein said after the game. "We thought we had 2.6 or 2.2 seconds left, and we have time to get the ball to the rim."

With the quick change, and with no timeouts remaining, Beilein didn't have time to change the play, which forced Schifino to put up a shot under heavy pressure on the sideline in front of the Mountaineer bench. That shot, like many of WVU's efforts this year, came up just a bit short.

WVU hosts Virginia Tech in the final home game of the regular season at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. It will be Senior Day at the Coliseum.


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