Men's Basketball: WVU vs. Pittsburgh Game Recap - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Men's Basketball: WVU vs. Pittsburgh Game Recap

Nick Arthur, PITTSBURGH -

With its NCAA tournament hopes on the line, Kevin Jones scored 16 points, Deniz Kilicli added 14 and West Virginia snapped a six-game losing streak at the Petersen Events Center with a 66-48 victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

West Virginia improved to 17-10 on the season and 7-7 in Big East Conference play.

"It's just a special opportunity for us," Jones said. "This could be the last Backyard Brawl and we wanted to end it out on a win. They beat us at home, so why not return the favor."

The Mountaineers used a 12-0 run in the second half to avenge a loss earlier in the season to Panthers.

West Virginia forced 17 Panther turnovers and held the home team to just seven made field goals in the second half.

"I think this is the biggest rivalry in college basketball," Jones said. "It always comes down to who plays the toughest at the end. And I think we were the team that played toughest at the end tonight."

Senior guard Truck Bryant was not in the starting lineup for the first time all season and sat out the first five minutes of the game.

"As long as we get the win, I don't care." Bryant said. "I would never question coach's decision."

Junior forward Deniz Kilicli picked up the slack without Bryant, while scoring seven of the Mountaineers' first nine points and helping the visitors grab an early advantage.

Sloppy play and multiple turnovers kept the game relatively low scoring in the first half.

The two teams combined for 17 first-half turnovers while the Mountaineers held a 26-25 advantage at the half.

Jones, Kilicli and Bryant combined for 24 of West Virginia's 26 first-half points.

West Virginia freshmen guards Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne both were able to get their hands in the passing lanes and create multiple fast-break opportunities for the Mountaineers early in the second half.

The 11th Pitt turnover led to a 33-29 lead for the visitors.

The Panthers played a 2-3 zone defensively for most of the game and forced the Mountaineers to shoot outside jumpers.

West Virginia was able to get open looks but only made one of its first nine attempts from three-point range.

Jones hit a jumper against the zone and the Mountaineers had their largest lead of the night, 44-36, with 9:04 remaining in the game.

West Virginia then used a 12-0 run to hold a 52-36 advantage with less than seven minutes to play.

The Mountaineers avoided turnovers and made their free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.

"We're trying to get in the NCAA tournament," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. "We just want to win games. We just need to win games."

Truck Bryant had one of his best all-around games of the season. Bryant scored 15 points, recorded seven rebounds and four steals.

Browne joined Bryant, Kilicli and Jones in double figures with 12 points.

"This is a big win, but it's not the end," Jones said. "We can't be satisfied with just this win. We have to win a lot more games."

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