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Pitt rallies, stumbles in 69-60 loss to West Virginia

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Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr combined for 34 points in the Mountaineers' nine-point win over Pitt at Petersen Events Center Friday night.

The resurrection of the basketball backyard brawl was all West Virginia in the first half as the Mountaineers opened up a double-digit lead seven minutes into the game and took a 45-27 lead at the half.

The Panthers came roaring back in the second half though and cut the Mountaineers lead to two points with only five minutes left. Number 18 West Virginia tore off an 8-1 run in the final five minutes though to pull away for a 69-60 win at the Petersen Events Center Saturday night.

“We’re disappointed we couldn’t quite make it over the hump in the last few minutes,” Stallings said. “A team of less character would have given up at halftime. Our kids believed they could come back in the second half.”

Pitt (5-5, 0-0 ACC) shot cold in the first half and made only five field goals before the break. West Virginia (9-1, 0-0 Big 12) shot 50 percent from three-point range (8-16) and forced ten turnovers in the first half, which helped fuel what many thought was an insurmountable 18 point halftime lead.

“We got our butts kicked in the first half,” Stalling said. “I hate to put it this way but they made shots and we didn’t. The poise of [WVU’s] veteran guards was good.”

The Panthers did not give up. They came storming back in the second half and cut the Mountaineers lead to single digits (56-47) midway through the second half.   

“I told our guys I was afraid this would happen,” West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said. “It was fun for the fans but it was work for me. I didn’t have any fun at all.”

Khameron Davis was fouled on a made three-pointer with 5:30 left in the game and his free throw for the four-point play pulled Pitt to within 61-59. The Panthers' inexperience was exposed after that as the Mountaineers tore off an 8-1 run in the final five minutes to seal the win.

Ryan Luther had a double-double to lead Pitt with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

“We defended better [in the second half] and made a few key shots. We fought hard,” Luther said. “We knew the game was a little closer than the score showed. We settled down at half time. If we could have made a few more shots it might have been a different game.”

Marcus Carr and Shamiel Stevenson each scored 12 points.

“We wanted to come out with more energy [in the second half] and keep chipping away but we just couldn’t finish it,” Carr said. “We knew we could play in this game. This was the hardest we played this season but we still didn’t play our best.”

Jevon Carter led West Virginia with 19 points. Daxter Miles scored 15, Lamont West scored 13 points and James Bolden scored 10.

Pitt returns to action next Saturday by hosting McNeese State.

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