Pitt powers past Mountaineers
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – Levance Fields had 14 points, four rebounds
and five assists, leading 12th-ranked Pittsburgh over West Virginia, 80-66, in
its final home game of the season at Petersen Events Center.
Mike Cook, Levon Kendall and Aaron Gray had 12 points apiece for Pitt (25-5,
12-3 Big East), which has won three of its last four games. Cook also dished
out five assists, while Kendall and Gray finished with nine and 13 rebounds,
respectively. Ronald Ramon chipped in with 10 points for the Panthers, who
shot a scorching 60 percent (29-for-48) in the contest.
Pitt remained in contention for the Big East regular season title. The
Panthers are tied with Georgetown atop the conference with one game remaining
for each team. The Panthers will play at Marquette Saturday, while the Hoyas
host Cincinnati the same day.
Darris Nichols scored 14 points to lead West Virginia (20-8, 8-7), which has
dropped four of its last six games. Jamie Smalligan finished with 13 points,
Joe Mazzulla had 11, and Da’Sean Butler poured in 10 points for the
Trailing 32-29 at the break, Pitt opened the second half with a 9-0 burst.
Ramon eventually ended the run with a three-point shot at 11:43, and the
Panthers held a 38-32 advantage.
West Virginia continued to battle, and a couple of Joe Alexander free throws
closed the gap to 49-48 with 9:26 remaining.
Tyrell Biggs’ trey at 8:35 ignited a 14-3 run for the Panthers, who held a
63-51 cushion with 4:38 left to play.
West Virginia closed within nine down the stretch, but Pittsburgh pulled away
in the final minutes.
Pitt led 7-2 after Ramon’s three-pointer with 15:01 remaining in the opening
half, but the Mountaineers answered, storming back to grab an 11-9 lead on
Smalligan’s trey at 10:54.
The Panthers later opened a 23-18 margin on Antonio Graves’ jumper at 5:38,
but West Virginia answered with nine straight points to go ahead. Nichols had
four points during the surge, capped by Mazzulla’s layup at 3:27 for a 27-23
West Virginia shot 40 percent (22-for-55) in the contest…Pitt has already
clinched a bye in the first round of the Big East Tournament…The Panthers
honored four seniors – Gray, Graves, Kendall and Doyle Hudson – in a pre-game
ceremony…Pitt finished the regular season 16-2 on its home court…Biggs
finished with seven points…Alexander had eight points.