MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (KDKA/AP) — The No. 4 Pitt Panthers rallied to beat No. 25 West Virginia in the Coliseum, 71-66 on Monday night.
This latest chapter of the Backyard Brawl took place without Pitt’s leading scorer Ashton Gibbs on the court. He’s nursing an injury to his left knee that could keep him sidelined for as long as two weeks.
The beginning wasn’t pretty as the Panthers were held to just 23 points in the first half.
Pittsburgh had just three turnovers after halftime and shot 61 percent (17 of 28) from the field in the second half and 44 percent for the game.
Four Pitt players earned points in the double-digits with Nasir Robinson leading the team with 15 points. Gary McGhee had 13, Travon Woodall scored 12 and Brad Wanamaker added 11 points for the Panthers.
On the West Virginia side, Deniz Kilicli earned a career-high 19 points. Kevin Jones scored 12 for the Mountaineers who have dropped four of their last five games.
Casey Mitchell, WVU’s lead scorer, was held to seven points for the night.
West Virginia scored eight of the game’s first 10 points, fell behind only once before halftime and held the Panthers to one field goal over the final 5 minutes of the half. Pittsburgh shot 29 percent (9 of 31) from the field and trailed 25-23 at halftime.
The Panthers matched their first-half output in the first 11 minutes of the second half.
Woodall, Gibbs’ replacement, put the Panthers ahead to stay, 47-46, on a jumper with 8:16 remaining.
But like most games in the Backyard Brawl, West Virginia managed to stay close until the Panthers’ decisive run.
This is the 10th straight season Pitt has won at least 20 games overall and at least 10 in the Big East, the conference’s longest current streak.