Men's Basketball

West Virginia Rolls

By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
December 20, 2008

West Virginia 82 Miami 46
WVU Coliseum
morgantown, w.va.
Miami University 17 29 46
West Virginia 47 35 82
Stat Comparison
FG Made-Att 15-41 31-62
FG Percentage 36.6% 50.0%
3P Made-Att 3-15 12-30
3P Percentage 20.0% 40.0%
FT Made-Att 13-17 8-10
FT Percentage 76.5% 80.0%
Rebounds 29 31
Turnovers 26 12
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Rebounder
Da'Sean Butler
28 Points
Kevin Jones
8 Rebounds

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The thought coming into today’s game was the first team to score 50 points wins. Well, West Virginia nearly had that by halftime as the Mountaineers rolled to 82-46 victory over Miami University Saturday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum.

Who would have thought it? Not ESPN’s Andy Katz, who earlier this week picked the Miami-West Virginia game as one of his three upset specials of the week. West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was equally surprised.

“I’m more shocked than anybody,” Huggins said. “I’ve watched all of their tapes and they’re good. We did a really good job defensively. I think switching everything bothered them and we’ve really never done that.”

West Virginia, at home for just the second time in a month, shot 58.1 percent in the first half to build a 47-17 halftime advantage over a RedHawk team that came into today’s game with an RPI of 22 with losses to just UCLA, Pitt and Xavier.

“When you travel as much as we have I think it does affect you,” Huggins said. “We didn’t shoot very well in practice and I told Larry (Harrison), ‘We’re going to have to hold them to 40 to be able to win.’ We came out and hit our first couple and that kind of loosened things up for us.”

Miami (6-4) was without starting point guard Kenny Hayes, a 14-points-per-game scorer, and it showed against West Virginia’s half-court pressure defense. Miami committed 15 first-half turnovers that led to 26 points with the Mountaineers scoring 15 straight at one point to put the game out of reach.

West Virginia (8-2) was also without starting point guard Joe Mazzulla, who is nursing a shoulder injury, and starting forward Devin Ebanks was limited to just 11 minutes with knee and ankle injuries sustained in practice yesterday.

“Dev tried to go a little bit today and I just didn’t see any sense of putting him back into the game in the second half,” Huggins said.

Da'Sean Butler poured in a career-high 28 points including his 1,000th career point and Alex Ruoff made his return after a 14-day absence with 15 points and eight assists.

“Alex passes the ball and he sees the floor and we can run some things through him,” Huggins said. “We didn’t run a whole lot of stuff today other than just our passing game but our ball movement was just so much better. Our cuts were sharper and I thought our screens were better.”

Truck Bryant scored 16 and has now reached double figures in eight of the first 10 games of his college career.

Miami’s Michael Bramos, who came into the game averaging 20.2 points per game including four straight games of scoring 26 or more points, was held to six points below his season’s average on 5 of 13 shooting.

“Defensively I thought Alex was real good. He guarded Bramos who I think is a heck of a player and I thought Alex did a good job of forcing him deeper than he really wanted to go,” Huggins said.

The RedHawks committed 26 turnovers and the Mountaineers turned that into 38 fast break points.

West Virginia found its shooting touch from 3-point distance, hitting 12 of 30 for the game including 5 of 7 from Butler and 4 of 5 from Bryant.

“Da’Sean shot it with a lot of confidence. I think having Alex on the floor helps Da’Sean a bunch. Alex gets the ball to him when he’s open and he takes another defender that they can’t concentrate near as much on Da,” Huggins said.

The Mountaineers had 20 assists on 31 baskets and finished the game 31 of 62 from the floor for 50 percent.

“It’s a lot more fun when the ball falls in,” Huggins said. “We made some shots.”

Up next for West Virginia is Radford on Tuesday, Dec. 23, at the Coliseum. That game will be offered online through MSNsportsNET.com on MountaineerTV.