MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)—West Virginia coach John Beilein told Kevin Pittsnogle that if he ran the floor, he would score.
Pittsnogle ran the floor—a lot.
The senior forward scored a career-high 34 points Friday night and No. 25 West Virginia beat Canisius 80-68.
“I hit some 3s and was really feeling it outside,” said Pittsnogle, who was 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. “It was weird, I was feeling it from outside but I felt like I couldn’t make a layup.”
Pittsnogle matched his previous career high of 27 points with 13:58 remaining on a turnaround jumper. On the following possession, Pittsnogle hit a 3-pointer, one of West Virginia’s 12 in the game, that gave the Mountaineers (8-3) a 28-point lead, their biggest, with 12:54 to go.
Canisius (1-8) then took advantage of seven West Virginia turnovers to outscore the Mountaineers 29-8 over the final 11 minutes.
The lead was cut to six on a three-point play by Chuck Harris with 41 seconds remaining. Patrick Beilein and Mike Gansey held it together for the Mountaineers from the free throw line, hitting three each in the final 40 seconds.
“When Pittsnogle shoots, we can try to contend, but he hit two 3s when I felt we were right in his shoes,” Canisius coach Mike MacDonald said. “That’s just what he does—he does it to other teams, too.”
Harris had 11 of his 15 points over the final 5:40. He fouled out with 34 seconds left.
“We became mentally sloppy during that stretch,” John Beilein said.
Gansey finished the game with 15 points. Beilein hit two 3-pointers to move within one of tying the school’s career record of 200 set by Chris Leonard from 1989 to 1992.
It was the seventh time this season West Virginia finished with at least 10 3-pointers.
“I thought we put on a pretty good clinic for most of the game,” John Beilein said. “Kevin is really playing well and developing into a complete player.”
A layup by Johannes Herber gave the Mountaineers the lead for good at 15-14 and started the deciding 28-7 run.
“Our guys can’t just play 12 minutes in the first half and 12 in the second half,” MacDonald said. “Hopefully we can build on this and take it to the next game, but we have to be careful because it wasn’t a win.”
The Mountaineers were the first ranked opponent for the Golden Griffins in exactly two years. On Dec. 30, 2003, they lost 87-70 to No. 17 Syracuse.