The West Virginia men’s basketball team has been struggling as of late.
Then last Thursday, on the brink of losing its NCAA tournament bid if it kept slipping, WVU ran Pittsburgh out of the gym … AT THE PETERSEN EVENTS CENTER. The Mountaineers were able to beat the Panthers for just the second time ever in the venue where the Panthers have only lost 18 games since they started playing there in 2002.
So, what was the key?
What was the difference for the Mountaineers Thursday compared to the two games they had just lost at home and the other three they lost before an overtime thriller over Providence?
This screenshot taken from ESPN3.com during the Backyard Brawl of myself (on the right) and my friend John Terry, Managing Editor at The Daily Athenaeum, covering the game was the key to the game. I’m sure of it.
But before I get into how we were the difference makers that night, here’s a story of what went on …
Heading into a media timeout, I noticed one of the camera guys lurking around the student reporters from The Pitt News. I thought they would just be on them for a while then get back to the game, so I just continued doing research and tweeting about the game until the timeout was over.
And then I received a mention from John that said the camera guy was looking at us, so I looked up and noticed he was very close to the two of us and was definitely filming.
That was when my mentions began getting flooded on Twitter.
So, anyway, while Twitter was exploding with the news of John and I being on TV, the Mountaineers were running away with the game.
At that time, WVU was starting to extend its lead a little (it was winning 40-33) but us being on the broadcast propelled the Mountaineers to a 12-3 run over the course of the next five minutes and, just like that, they had a commanding 52-36 lead. From there they went on to their 66-48 victory over Pitt in what could be the final Backyard Brawl ever, and after the game we got this shot after we found some of the signs the Oakland Zoo left laying around.
Now were we really the difference? Maybe not.
But it’s a cool story and it was an awesome thing to add to what might have been my favorite trip to ever cover as a reporter.
Maybe, just to be safe, Bob Huggins should try to get some ESPN cameras in The Daily Athenaeum newsroom tonight for the game against Notre Dame though. I’m sure they’ll get some good stuff regardless.