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WVU forces 32 turnovers, beats Pitt 74-59

The West Virginia defense forced 32 turnovers, while the offense made 40.9% of their three-pointers, with West Virginia winning the 188th edition of the Backyard Brawl 74-59.

In the first half, things again started out slow for the Mountaineers (2-0). West Virginia was unable to get anything going offensively besides a pair of transition layups from freshman forward Isaiah Cottrell and sophomore forward Jalen Bridges, but Pitt (0-2) led 6-4, with 15:54 left in the half.

After the first four minutes however, the West Virginia offense was able to get going. Senior Sean McNeil hit a three-pointer to put West Virginia ahead 9-8. Then on the following Pitt possession, fifth year forward Gabe Osabuohien drew a charge, followed by a fifth year guard Taz Sherman three-pointer to put West Virginia ahead 12-8.

In the first half, it was the West Virginia defense that was able to jumpstart the offense. The Mountaineer defense forced 18 turnovers to go along with nine steals. Senior guard Kedrian Johnson had three of those nine steals.

McNeil and Sherman were the spark plug offensively for West Virginia as they combined for 15 first half points, as West Virginia shot 51.7% from the field, and 40% from three-point range to give West Virginia a 36-24 lead heading into the break.

In the second half it was the West Virginia defense again getting things started.

Within the first 3:19 of the half, West Virginia had forced five Pitt turnovers which led to a transition three-pointer from Sherman off of a Johnson steal to put West Virginia ahead 43-26.

Pitt responded quickly however, cutting the deficit to 10 with 14:37 left after Pitt was able to take advantage of a couple West Virginia turnovers.

West Virginia did not let the 10-point lead get any smaller as the Mountaineers went on a 16-5 run over the next 4:02, capped of by a Bridges three-pointer. The Mountaineer forward finished the game with 18 points, including shooting 4-6 from three-point range.

Bridges put an exclamation mark on the win as he hit his fourth three-pointer of the game with :50 left to put the Mountaineers ahead 74-59.

The West Virginia defense was again active in the second half, as they forced 14 second-half turnovers, including seven steals from Johnson.

The defense turned into offense as West Virginia made 9-22 of three-pointers in the half. Sherman, McNeil, Bridges and Curry each had double-digit points.

Pitt only had two scorers reach 10 or more points, with Mouhamadou Gueye scoring 10 and John Hugley scoring 17.

West Virginia will be back in action next week as they head to the Charleston Classic in Charleston, South Carolina, as they are scheduled to face Elon next Thursday, Nov. 18, at 9:00 p.m. on ESPN2.

Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography

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