PITTSBURGH — In the first half of the Backyard Brawl against West Virginia, Pitt struggled to gain any offensive rhythm and keep up with the Mountaineers after several of its key players picked up fouls early and often.
Through one half, Pitt has looked out of sorts offensively due to immense foul trouble for players at all positions. Most notably, after Pitt started the game strong, Jamarius Burton and Blake Hinson headed to the bench after picking up two fouls apiece early. Hinson, Pitt’s leading scorer from game one, played just nine minutes in the first frame, scoring three points on one made three pointer. Burton scored five early points. Big man Federiko Federiko, filling in for an injured John Hugley, also picked up two first-half fouls. Nelly Cummings also picked up his third foul of the half on a late charging foul.
Due to this foul trouble, Pitt was forced to turn to lineups that struggled to score. Behind Federiko, the Diaz-Graham brothers, Guillermo and Jorge, played down low. Nate Santos played the four, guarding West Virginia’s 6-foot-9 Tre Mitchell for a good amount of the half. With West Virginia’s front court strength, the Mountaineers built up their 11-point lead.
For West Virginia, big man Mo Wague has nine points on 4-for-4 shooting. Emmitt Matthews has seven points, and Tre Mitchell six.
The Panthers turned the ball over 12 times in the half, compared to West Virginia’s nine.
Greg Elliott was an early bright spot for Pitt, hitting his first three three-point attempts, including a four-point play. Elliott played all 20 minutes in the first frame.
In the second half, expect West Virginia to continue attacking the inside against the short-handed Panthers.