PITTSBURGH — Take me home, country roads.
Get me out of here.
It was insanity.
It is insanity.
After spending an evening on city roads, all I can say is, West, by God, Virginia.
Pittsburgh may be a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to park there, at least not on the Parkway West, which is exactly what those who made the trek from Morgantown to Pittsburgh did.
Normally, it’s an hour and a half drive.
And, it was an hour and a half drive … from where I-79 just outside Pittsburgh turned into the Parkway West. The rest of the way … bumper to bumper to bumper to bumper to bumper.
Thank God, I’m a country boy.
Oh, thanks to ESPN, we still made the game between West Virginia University and Pittsburgh, our nerves a little frazzled and our gas needle far closer to empty than it needed to be, but the 9 p.m. start allowed everyone a chance to inhale those exhaust fumes and study the good-looking blonde in the car alongside you … for 45 minutes.
Somehow, right now, it doesn’t seem worth it.
Not with way West Virginia let this one slip away.
Nine days after beating their arch-rival Pitt, by 19 points at home, they drove all the way up here to blow a basketball game they had won.
And they took their darn time blowing it.
One overtime. Two overtimes. Three overtimes.
By the time it ended, 98-95, today was tomorrow and West Virginia’s No. 4 ranking was yesterday.
Almost no matter what happens from here on can’t salvage the damage done this week.
Lose to Villanova. Lose to Pitt.
Thank goodness they had only two games scheduled.
This one seemed so easy.
Truck Bryant sank a pair of free throws with 1:11 left in regulation, the Mountaineers led, 66-59.
Run out the clock, hit some free throws, that’s all that was left for them to do.
Then Bryant missed the front end of 1 and 1.
Then Da’Sean Butler did likewise … twice.
Still, with 34.4 seconds left, WVU led by five.
They were ready to hit the highway, take that country road back home.
Next thing you knew they were standing at midcourt having a jump ball. Overtime No. 1.
Now they were clinging to life, down by three, 1.4 seconds left, the Oakland Zoo braying like foolish mules.
That’s when Truck Bryant hit a 3.
The scoreboard had it tied again and they went into a second overtime.
This time it was Da’Sean Butler, who would play an incredible 47 minutes, hitting three free throws. He finished with 32 points after having scored 27 in three previous games at Pitt. He added 11 rebounds.
He didn’t have a turnover.
And still it wasn’t enough.
They had to play a third overtime, and this time the Mountaineers couldn’t escape. They had Pitt where they wanted them, Brad Wannamaker and his 24 points, 10 assists and five rebounds had fouled out, as would two other players.
But it got down to the nitty and the gritty, WVU leading 95-94 when Butler hit a turnaround.
Once again they tried to hold on, but Gilbert Brown would make two free throws for a one-point and after Devin Ebanks, playing his 53rd minute, missed a tough turnaround, Ashton Gibbs hit two free throws and it was over.
Done. The Mountaineers were on a two-game losing streak.
There was nothing left but to hit the road … the country road.
At least the traffic was gone.
E-mail Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PITTSBURGH — Take me home, country roads.
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