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Pitt Defeats WVU

February 10, 2009

Pitt beat WVU 70-59 in a game that was kept close only because of foul trouble for the Panthers. DeJuan Blair picked up two fouls in just five minutes of play keeping rebounding even without a big presence under the net for Pitt. The officials called a tight game, hampering Pitt’s physical play as Fields, Young and Blair spent much of the first half on the bench because of foul trouble.

Young led the Panthers with 20 points and took over the second half after Blair picked up foul which turned into a technical foul after he complained to the official.

Some may hastily call this victory an example of the Panthers over coming their problem of losing games without Blair (as was the case in both losses to Louisville and Villanova). However, I don’t think that’s the case. WVU’s leading scorers, Ruoff and Bulter, were also hampered by foul trouble keeping the Mountaineers from taking over the game. If Pitt was playing a team like UConn or Marquette there is no way Pitt would be able come out on top.

Tightly called games could become the only obstacle in Pitt’s way to a deep NCAA tournament run. Usually Big East official allow for a more physical game because the make-up of most teams forces that style of play. But as both Panther losses and the WVU game show, even in the Big East their is the potential for Pitt to get into foul trouble. Come March when Pitt will be playing for mixed officials there is a chance that ACC or other ref’s may not tolerate Pitt’s physical play and prevent the Panthers from advancing deep in the tournament.

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