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Rebounding to be the key in tonight’s Backyard Brawl

On Friday evening, West Virginia will look to bounce back from their sloppy performance against Oakland, as they host Pitt in the Backyard Brawl at the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (1-0) beat Oakland 60-53 on Tuesday, as fifth year guard Taz Sherman scored 18 points, and the Mountaineers forced Oakland into turning the ball over 25 times in their win. Despite the win, there were a lot of areas especially rebounding the ball the Mountaineers knew they would have to work on.

West Virginia got out-rebounded by 48-33, and head coach Bob Huggins made it an emphasis in practice.

“The rebounding deal is mind blowing to me,” Huggins said. “A lot of it (rebounding) was effort. It’s effort, it’s technique.”

Senior guard Sean McNeil said it has to be a team effort when trying to rebound the ball due to West Virginia’s lack of size.

“Us just not being a huge team this year, we have to gang guard, gang rebound. We all have to box out. We all have to rebound,” McNeil said.

Pitt (0-1) opened their season losing 78-63 to The Citadel. In the win, The Citadel shot 46% from the field, and 36.1% from three-point range.

“They played a team who just made shots,” Huggins said of the Pitt loss.

Pitt out-rebounded The Citadel 43-39, with sophomore forward John Hugley scoring 27 points, as well as recording 10 rebounds.

“Hugley’s a guy that I know well,” Huggins said. “He’s done a great job of taking care of himself and he’s got great hands.”

Dating back to 2012, West Virginia has beaten Pitt in four straight meetings, with their most recent victory coming on Nov. 15, 2019, with West Virginia winning 68-53.

The Mountaineers and Panthers are set to tipoff at 8:30 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum, and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography

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