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Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers (2-0) completely out-classed the undermanned Pitt Panthers (0-2), easily winning the Backyard Brawl, 74-59.  The Mountaineers now lead the all-time series 100-88 and have won five consecutive games against the Panthers!

With the win, West Virginia’s legendary head coach Bob Huggins tied the great Bobby Knight in 5th place on the all-time coaching wins list with 902 career wins.  Huggins needs one more win to tie Roy Williams in 4th place with 903 wins.  Huggins will also likely pass Jim Calhoun (918) to move into 3rd on the list before the end of this season.

The Mountaineers were led by Jalen Bridges who finished tonight’s game with 18 points and 5 rebounds.  Taz Sherman added 17 points and 5 rebounds. Sean McNeil had 11 points on 4-9 from the field and 3-4 from three point range.  Malik Curry was outstanding off the bench, finishing with 10 points (5-5 from the field) and 3 assists.

Pitt was led by John Hugley, who finished with 17 points and and 6 rebounds in a losing effort.  Pitt out-rebounded the Mountaineers 36-20 and shot better than West Virginia from the field (57.5% to West Virginia’s 50.8%).

Observations:

  • Malik Curry should clearly be the starting point guard for the Mountaineers.
  • The lack of an interior scorer will be an issue for the Mountaineers this season.  Cottrell, Paulicap, Carrigan and Osabuohien all really struggle to provide any scoring inside.
  • West Virginia’s defensive intensity was outstanding for most of the game.
  • If West Virginia wants to beat good teams this season, they will need to get a lot better at protecting the ball and at passing.
  • Kobe Johnson needs more time and will be a star eventually.  Him and Curry appear to be far more effective than starter Kedrian Johnson right now.

West Virginia will be back in action on Thursday, November 18 at 9:00PM against Elon in the 2021 Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic in Charleston, South Carolina.

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