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No. 3 Wildcats Surprised By No. 24 West Virginia In Big East Battle, 91-87

Jan. 8, 2006

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VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) - Joe Herber scored 23 points and Kevin Pittsnogle had 22, leading No. 24 West Virginia to a 91-87 victory over No. 3 Villanova on Sunday.

Mike Gansey added 21 points as the Mountaineers (10-3, 2-0 Big East) beat their second top-10 opponent this season.

Randy Foye had 24 points and Mike Nardi scored 23 for Villanova (10-1, 1-1).

West Virginia came in as 11 1/2-point underdogs, but fought back from a double-digit deficit early in the second half.

Pittsnogle hit a 3 to cut Villanova's lead to 76-74 with under 5 minutes left and Herber made two free throws to tie it. After Allan Ray missed a 3-pointer, Frank Young hit a jumper to give West Virginia its first lead, 78-76, since the first half.

Herber's layup put West Virginia ahead 84-79 with 1:23 remaining and Pittsnogle's hook shot made it 86-81. Foye answered with a 3-pointer to cut it to 86-84.

A 3-pointer by Nardi got Villanova within 88-87, but Herber made two free throws and Nardi committed a crucial turnover. Patrick Beilein iced it with a free throw.

West Virginia, which beat then-No. 7 Oklahoma 92-68 last month, has won eight in a row after losing three straight in late November.

Except for Foye, Villanova literally didn't miss a shot in the first half as the Wildcats shot an astounding 71.4 percent (15-for-21), including 76.9 percent (10-for-13) from 3-point range, to take a 46-37 lead.

Foye was 2-for-8 during the first half, while his teammates made all 13 of their shots.

Villanova finished 29-for-50 from the floor, 15-for-26 from beyond the arc.

The fired-up Mountaineers held a 20-18 lead in the first half. But Shane Clark started a 7-0 run with a jumper. A 9-0 run put Villanova ahead 40-29, and Foye beat the halftime buzzer with a 3-pointer.



Villanova could've moved up in the rankings with a victory because Marquette beat No. 2 Connecticut 94-79 on Tuesday.