for this game

Young, Pittsburgh pull away from West Virginia in second half

Jan 26, 2009 - 3:51 AM MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (Ticker) -- With Sam Young turning his focus back inside, Pittsburgh put away a big rival.

Young scored 22 points as fourth-ranked Pittsburgh used a second-half run to claim a 79-67 victory over West Virginia in Sunday's Big East contest.

DeJuan Blair had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Levance Fields scored 13 and handed out five assists for the Panthers (18-1, 6-1 Big East), who recorded their second straight win following a 69-63 loss at Louisville on January 17.

Although their matchup with the Mountaineers was expected to be a tough one, the Panthers ended up winning for the fifth time in the last six games of this series.

"A very impressive win for us," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "We know how good they are. We came out and executed throughout."

Pittsburgh mainly did it behind its play inside, finishing with a 38-24 advantage in points in the paint despite losing the rebounding battle, 34-31.

"They're a good team," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "That's a legitimate top-five team, when you can throw DeJuan Blair, Sam Young and Tyrell Biggs up there. That's a great front line. We were physically mismatched inside."

West Virginia (14-5, 3-3) held a 45-43 edge after Da'Sean Butler hit his second 3-pointer of the second half with 16:34 remaining.

Pittsburgh responded with a 16-5 run, pulling ahead, 59-50, on Brad Wanamaker's offensive rebound and layup off a missed fast-break layup by Fields with 11:01 left.

Young scored six points during the run and finished 9-of-14 from the field en route to his second straight 22-point effort.

The senior forward made a point to get to the rim, something he from which had gotten away in past games.

"I felt like a couple games in the past, I took too many threes," Young said. "It's uncharacteristic of me to take too many threes. I'm not Stephen Curry or anybody like that. I have too many dimensions in my game to be relying on the three that much."

While he was sure of how he was going to attack the Mountaineers, Young was hampered by two fouls in the first half. He committed only one more after intermission.

"In the first half, I felt like I was kind of on and I was starting to take advantage of them," Young said. "But because of the fouls, I had to play limited minutes. In the second half, I just stayed aggressive. I was a little quicker."

The Panthers continued to extend their separation, going ahead, 66-53, on Jermaine Dixon's 3-pointer with 8:53 to play.

It was the first of two 3-pointers in a 97-second span for the junior guard, who finished with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the arc.

Dixon's long-range shooting was not a stat about which Huggins was happy.

"He shoots 21 percent from (3-pointers) and he goes 3-for-5," he said. "When we left him open, he made them."

The Panthers went on to lead by as many as 16 points in improving to 3-1 in conference road games.

Behind Young, Pittsburgh sizzled from the field, shooting 54 percent (30-of-56). Meanwhile, West Virginia was 41 percent (23-of-56) and 5-of-19 on 3-pointers.

"They made open shots," Huggins said. "Anytime they had open shots, they made them. We missed open shots. We started to make a run at them and they made an open shot."

Butler finished with 21 points for the Mountaineers, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Alex Ruoff scored 16 points and freshman Darryl Bryant added 12 for West Virginia, which finished with only eight second-chance points despite 15 offensive rebounds.

Devin Ebanks provided an early spark for the Mountaineers, scoring nine points on 4-of-4 shooting in the first half. His tip of Bryant's missed floater just beat the halftime buzzer, cutting West Virginia's deficit to 39-37.

However, the freshman forward failed to score after the break, missing his final three shots.