From staff, wire reports
The last time West Virginia faced Pittsburgh, it looked like the Mountaineers received a break when Ashton Gibbs, the Panthers top perimeter threat, went out with a knee injury.
But the Panthers (24-3, 12-2 Big East) just went inside to score, seemingly at will.
Actually, it was 42 points in the paint in a 71-66 Panthers win at the WVU Coliseum Feb. 7.
And the Panthers outrebounded the Mountaineers 40-28.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins can hardly forget it.
“We gotta do a lot better job rebounding the ball,” Huggins said. “They just destroyed us on the glass. We can’t let them score the ball close to the basket like they did last time.”
The next meeting between the two teams will tip off at 9 p.m. Thursday and be televised on ESPN.
While rebounding will be key, the Mountaineers (17-9, 8-6) will have to contend with Gibbs this time. The Big East’s leader in 3-point shooting accuracy (47.3 percent) will be back.
He is coming off a 26-point effort in a 60-59 loss to St. John’s.
The Mountaineers are coming off a huge 72-58 win over then-No. 8 Notre Dame. Truck Bryant led the way with 24 points.
“It’s his best game in a long time,” Huggins said. “And not just his made shots. I thought his decision-making was better.”
Casey Mitchell still leads the Mountaineers in scoring at 14.8, but he played just nine minutes and scored just two points in the win over Notre Dame.
Kevin Jones averages 12.7 points and 7.1 rebounds, and Bryant averages 11.
John Flowers averages 9.8 and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Gibbs leads Pitt at 16.7 points, followed by Brad Wanamaker at 12.4 and Gilbert Brown at 10.8. Gary McGhee averages 7.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
West Virginia is at Rutgers at noon Sunday.