MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)—West Virginia needed another comeback to extend the Mountaineers’ best Big East start.
Kevin Pittsnogle scored 23 points and No. 16 West Virginia beat Georgetown 68-61 on Wednesday night.
The Mountaineers (11-3, 3-0) trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half against the Hoyas, one game after being behind by 15 points at No. 3 Villanova before rallying to hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season.
It was the ninth straight win for West Virginia, which is off to its best in its 11 years in the Big East.
The Mountaineers held the Hoyas scoreless for the final 6:55 of the first half.
“We really concentrated on defense, which led to our run,” West Virginia guard Patrick Beilein said.
Georgetown (10-3, 2-1) had a seven-game winning streak snapped.
After the Hoyas tied West Virginia at 33 with 14:36 remaining, the Mountaineers hit five 3-pointers to take their biggest lead, 57-45 with 4 minutes left. Beilein, WVU’s all-time 3-point leader, hit two and Pittsnogle added a 3-pointer and three-point play in the run.
Georgetown pulled within 66-61 with 26 seconds left, but Pittsnogle and Mike Gansey each added one free throw for the final margin.
“We had a bad stretch there,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “They’re always going to have a gunfighter’s chance because they have guys that can score. You’re not going to shut that out. We just had to come back. But anyone, regardless of where you’re from, that doesn’t have an appreciation for what they do doesn’t know anything about this game.”
Georgetown lost its composure with 2 minutes left. Ashanti Cook was called for an intentional foul. On the next possession, Darrel Owens fouled out and then called for a technical after talking back to an official. He was ejected.
Gansey had 15 points for the Mountaineers, while Beilein added 13.
The Mountaineers missed 19 of their first 24 shots from the field and 14 of their first 16 3-point attempts.
“We came out lackadaisical,” Pittsnogle said. “Physically, this was one of the toughest games we have had all year. After halftime, we came out and put their backs against the wall.”
Jeff Green had 17 points for the Hoyas, while Roy Hibbert had 16.
West Virginia outrebounded the taller Hoyas 33-29.
“To be honest, it concerns me that we actually outrebounded somebody,” West Virginia coach John Beilein joked.
West Virginia hosts Marquette on Jan. 14, and it can match its longest winning streak in 15 years with a victory.
“Three and zero is 3-0, and it’s great, but tomorrow we have to wake up and worry about Marquette,” John Beilein said.
Georgetown’s defense was ranked first in the Big East at 57 points per game, but West Virginia’s 68 points tied the most allowed by the Hoyas this season. The Mountaineers scored 47 points in the second half, the most Georgetown has allowed in a half this year.
A moment of silence was observed for the 12 miners killed at the Sago Mine in Tallmansville, 75 miles south of Morgantown. It was West Virginia’s first home game since the Jan. 2 explosion.