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No. 6 West Virginia Prevails Over No. 22 Pitt, 71-50

Jermaine Dixon

Jermaine Dixon

Feb. 3, 2010

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)--Da'Sean Butler scored 18 points, Kevin Jones added 16 and No. 6 West Virginia never trailed in beating No. 22 Pittsburgh 70-51 on Wednesday night.

West Virginia (18-3, 7-2 Big East) used a steady diet of 3-pointers and fed off the energy of the third-largest home crowd in school history and the successful debut of suspended freshman Deniz Kilicli to earn its fifth straight win.

Pittsburgh (16-6, 6-4) shot an abysmal 30 percent from the field, made just six field goals after halftime and was held to its second-lowest scoring total of the season.

Jones scored seven points during a 15-4 run as West Virginia started pulling away after the Panthers had gotten within 43-41 with 13 minutes remaining.

Jermaine Dixon returned from an injury to lead Pittsburgh with 13 points. Ashton Gibbs added 11 points but second-leading scorer Brad Wanamaker was held scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting.

The Panthers have dropped four of five conference games after starting 5-0 in the league and reaching the Top 10.

Kilicli provided a spark in his first action of the season after sitting out an NCAA-imposed 20 games for playing on a team in his native Turkey that included a professional player.

The 6-foot-9 Kilicli went 3 of 3 from the field and scored seven points in 4 minutes in the first half. The capacity crowd gave him a standing ovation when he entered the game and was mobbed by his teammates when he came out a few minutes later. He finished with nine points in 7 minutes.

Butler's 3-pointer put West Virginia ahead by double digits 4 minutes after halftime before Pittsburgh mounted a comeback.

Little-used freshman J.J. Richardson scored five points in the span of a minute and Pittsburgh pulled within 43-41 with 12:51 left. His previous season high was 2 points.

The Panthers got no closer.

A few minutes later, as the officials were reviewing on the courtside TV a scuffle under the basket involving Pitt's Gary McGhee and two West Virginia players, Pittsburgh assistant coach Tom Herrion was hit with what appeared to be a coin under his right eye. Huggins could be seen asking Herrion, who had a visible bruise under the eye, about it after the game.

West Virginia responded with its decisive run. Butler, Jones and Darryl Bryant hit 3-pointers and West Virginia pulled ahead 56-43 with 6:31 remaining.

The Mountaineers made 5 of 10 shots from beyond the arc after halftime and clinched its second straight win over the Panthers by going 10 of 10 from the free-throw line in the final 5 minutes.