PITTSBURGH — On Friday night, Joe Toussaint and the West Virginia Mountaineers took down a shorthanded Pitt team in the basketball edition of the Backyard Brawl by a score of 81-56.
Toussaint hit five of his 11 field goals, including a three-point dagger to extend the Mountaineer lead to 18 late in the game, en route to the win. Toussaint finished with a team-high 18, Erik Stevenson added 16, and big man Mohamed Wague scored 11 points as West Virginia took home the comfortable win.
West Virginia out-rebounded Pitt 30-27 in the win,.
Foul trouble was the big story for the Panthers, who had five players pick up at least two fouls in the first half. Pitt struggled to gain any offensive momentum aside from a hot shooting start from Marquette transfer Greg Elliott.
Elliott sank his first three three-point attempts of the game, including a four-point play, leading the Panthers to an early five-point lead with a thunderous crowd behind them. However, soon enough, foul trouble caught up to Pitt, and the Panthers’ weaknesses were exposed.
The Panthers’ leading scorer from game one, Blake Hinson, played just nine minutes in the first frame after racking up two fouls early. Jamarius Burton played just ten minutes in the frame. Starting center Federiko Federiko was limited to just 12 minutes of action.
In Federiko’s absence, West Virginia’s bigs took control of the game. Mohamed Wague hit all four of his field-goal attempts, going for nine first-half points. Forwards Tre Mitchell and Emmitt Matthews Jr. combined for 13 points and six rebounds in the frame. Once the Mountaineers front court found success, more space opened up for its back court, led by Toussaint.
For the Panthers, Burton finished with a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds, while Elliott followed with 12. Federiko added five points and six rebounds in the loss.
Pitt guard Nelly Cummings finished with just eight points after fouling out in the second half.
Pitt star big man John Hugley did not play in Friday night’s game due to a knee injury. William Jeffress also did not play due to a foot injury suffered in practice more than one month ago.
With the loss, Pitt falls to 1-1 on the season. Pitt will continue its season on Nov. 16 against Michigan in Brooklyn, NY as part of the Legends Classic.