The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

February 14, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN: Mountaineers hand victory to Panthers

PITTSBURGH — West Virginia University’s Cinderella season turned into a pumpkin on a cold, snowy night here at the Petersen “Eventful” Center.

“The feeling in my stomach is sick; it is disgusting,” were the words that rolled out of guard Truck Bryant’s mouth 20 minutes or more after the Panthers had fed the Mountaineers another helping of humble pie at the Pete, losing 98-95, in triple overtime. “I got a terrible taste in mouth.”

A couple of years ago it was Ronald Ramon putting a hurt on the Mountaineers.

This time they had no one to blame but themselves.

“We’re up seven points, with a minute left – that’s a game we are supposed to win every single time … and we didn’t,” Bryant said. “We missed free throws, turned the ball over, there is no reason for it – we’re supposed to win that game.”

Yeah, I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life in Hawaii, retired, living with Kim Kardashian … so how come I just got through shoveling the snow, again?

To West Virginia’s credit, it took them a long time to blow this one.

Three overtimes, that’s what it took.

Never before had the Backyard Brawl taken so long to be decided.

But then again, never before had West Virginia brought a team into the ’Burgh that was this much better than Pitt, ranked No. 4 in the nation, skilled and powerful, as long as the windpipe was kept clear.

There really isn’t any nice way to present this. It has always seemed that to just say a team or player choked was to oversimplify matters, yet it happens … and if you have a nicer way to put what happened to the Mountaineers before the Oakland Zoo and the unblinking eye of the ESPN camera, you tell us.

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