MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–After a brief hiatus, the Backyard Brawl returned to the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon and the loathe between the two teams was as prominent as ever.
Beetle Bolden scored 10 points to lead West Virginia to a 69-59 victory over former Big East foe Pitt.
Sagaba Konate had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks. Esa Ahmad added 13 points and seven boards.
Xavier Johnson tallied 21 points for the Panthers (7-3). Trey McGowens chipped in 18 points.
The Mountaineers (6-3) forced 26 Pitt turnovers. However, WVU had 23 miscues.
“We can’t stimulate their size, their athleticism and their length,” Panthers’ head coach Jeff Capel said. “We don’t have those types of guys right now. We work against it. We do what we can do. We practice against it- the physicality, knowing that they’re going to go after the basketball, so there’s going to be contact- so we have to be able to play through contact. I thought at times we did that.”
Konate passed D’or Fischer for the all-time leader in school, career blocks in the second half.
The first half was very chippy between the two teams. Each team picked up two technical fouls.
The Mountaineers led 39 to 27 at the half but Pitt continued to battle back.
Konate’s block led to a Harris 3-pointer that gave WVU a 56-42 lead with 8:54 left.
A 6-0 run, capped by a Malik Ellison layup, cut the Mountaineer’s lead to 56-48 with 7:27 remaining.
Konate’s dunk pushed the lead back out to 67-53 with 2:50 to play but the Panthers refused to go away, using another 6-0 run to pill within eight at the 1:50 mark.
“They play really hard,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “They play really hard and (Pitt coach) Jeff (Capel) runs really good stuff. They’re young. He’s playing a lot of young guys. I think he does a great job of playing to their strengths.”
WVU had a 41-33 edge on the glass over Pitt.
The Mountaineers shot 40 percent from the field, 24 percent from beyond the arc and 83 percent from the charity stripe.
Pitt shot 31 percent from the floor, 26 percent from 3-point ranger and 83 percent from the line.
WVU travels to Connecticut to face Rhode Island in the Holiday Showcase next Sunday at 1 p.m.
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose