Men's Basketball

West Virginia 93, Villanova 72

By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
February 13, 2009

#13 Villanova 72 , West Virginia 93
WVU Coliseum
Morgantown, W.va.
Villanova 34 38 72
West Virginia 52 41 93
Stat Comparison
FG Made-Att 22-52 31-62
FG Percentage 42.3% 50.0%
3P Made-Att 5-18 9-25
3P Percentage 27.8% 36.0%
FT Made-Att 23-32 22-28
FT Percentage 71.9% 78.6%
Rebounds 31 37
Turnovers 16 11
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Rebounder
Da'Sean Butler
43 Points
Devin Ebanks
10 Rebounds

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia defeated No. 13 Villanova, 93-72, on a nationally-televised Friday night Big East contest at the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (17-8, 6-6 Big East) shot 50 percent from the floor and were led by Da’Sean Butler’s career-high 43-points. The Newark, N.J., resident made 12-of-23 shots, including 6-of-13 3-pointers.

Butler’s 43 points were the third-most in Coliseum history behind Austin Carr’s 47 for Notre Dame scored in 1971 and Wil Robinson’s 45 scored against Penn State the same year.

“I have been waiting for it, honestly,” Coach Bob Huggins said of Butler’s performance. “He does it in practice. He does a great job at reading screens and our guys are getting better at getting him the ball.”

Devin Ebanks followed with one of his best performances of the season. The freshman from Long Island City, N.Y., recorded a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Chipping in with 9 points apiece were John Flowers and Darryl “Truck” Bryant.

WVU halted Villanova’s six-game winning streak. The Wildcats (20-5, 8-4) entered the contest averaging 98.3 points in their last three games. Leading scorers Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham were held to a combined 19 points.

“We got a little bit more off of our defense tonight. When (Dante) Cunningham got into foul trouble, they took some 3’s, which rebound a little bit longer, and we were able to get out and go with the ball a little bit more because of the long rebounds,” Huggins said.

“We got some easy baskets against their pressure. I thought we did a real good job in handling their pressure.”

One of the conference’s best teams on the glass, WVU won the rebounding battle, 37-31. Its ability to garner 15 second-chance points was a result of several key offensive rebounds by Ebanks, Wellington Smith and Kevin Jones.

The Wildcats were held to 42.3 percent shooting, suffering their worst loss of the season to an energized WVU squad. The Mountaineers also capitalized on plenty of Villanova’s miscues, scoring 20 points off 16 Wildcat turnovers.

Villanova nearly made things interesting in the second half, creeping to within 13, 54-41, with 16:06 left. WVU answered with a fall-away 3-pointer by Bryant, and two of Butler’s 13 made free throws to increase its lead to 19 with 12:23 remaining.

After WVU stretched its advantage to 22 points with 9:21 left Villanova went on a 9-0 run after Shane Clark’s fast-break lay up once again cut it to 13.

WVU shot a torrid 58.5 percent in the first half, jumping out to a 52-34 lead. Butler posted 24 points while Ebanks went perfect from the field (5-of-5) to lead WVU’s marksmanship offense.

“This win means that we are 6-6 and play Notre Dame on Wednesday,” Huggins said. “It’s hard. I think we have played the hardest league schedule to this point and it doesn’t get any easier. I don’t know if you watched the Notre Dame-Louisville game last night. They (Notre Dame) are playing terrific and we have a monumental struggle on our hands coming on Wednesday.”

Villanova was the third ranked team West Virginia has defeated this year - all by double digits. West Virginia's strength of schedule heading into today's game was considered the sixth toughest in the country.

The Mountaineers return with their second straight home contest against the Fighting Irish on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.