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No. 4 Pitt uses strong second half to beat West Virginia

Feb 25, 2011 - 7:48 AM Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Nasir Robinson scored 15 points to lead a balanced attack, and No. 4 Pittsburgh pulled away for a 71-58 victory over West Virginia.

Pitt opened the second half with a 7-0 run, erasing a one-point deficit at the break and taking the lead for good against its conference rival.

"This was a good win for us against a very good NCAA Tournament team. I especially liked how we played in the second half," said Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon.

Gilbert Brown, Lamar Patterson and Brad Wanamaker added 11 points apiece for the Panthers (25-3, 13-2 Big East), who bounced back from a last-second loss at St. John's on Saturday to win for the sixth time in seven games.

Casey Mitchell scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Mountaineers (17-10, 8-7), who were coming off a 14-point win over then-No. 8 Notre Dame on Saturday. They have lost four of their last six.

"They beat us in transition in the second half. Our half court defense wasn't as good," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. "They are good. That's the reason why they are 25-3. They are good."

The Panthers moved two games ahead of Notre Dame in the Big East and improved to 54-2 in their last 56 home contests, but they had to shake off a slow start in this one.

West Virginia opened the game with a 7-0 run, punctuated by Darryl Bryant's three-pointer. Pitt didn't get on the board until Robinson's layup 3:32 into the contest.

The Panthers took their first lead at 11-9, but trailed 31-30 after a back- and-forth 20 minutes. Then, they flipped the tables with a 7-0 run of their own to start the second half, taking control of the game.

"I felt pretty good about how we played in the first half. We were in trouble and had guys playing in different spots, so we felt good being down by just one," said Dixon. "In the second half, we took care of the ball and took good shots."

Patterson scored the first five points on a layup and three foul shots, giving Pitt a 37-31 advantage. The Panthers pushed their lead to double digits when a Wanamaker jumper made it 47-36 with 11:42 left.

West Virginia only cut its deficit to single digits twice after that: on the next possession when Mitchell hit a three-pointer, and with 1:38 remaining when Cam Thoroughman made two free throws for a nine-point hole.

Meanwhile, Pitt led by as many as 17 points with 5:14 remaining on a Robinson layup that made it 64-47.

Game Notes

Pitt out-shot the Mountaineers 57-33 percent...The Panthers have won 10 of the last 11 meetings in Pittsburgh...West Virginia still leads the all-time series 95-87.