WVU Drops League Opener
December 29, 2010 09:39 PM
St. John’s (8-3, 1-0) snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Mountaineers by stopping West Virginia’s offense in the half court and turning those stops into transition points, several on dunks. St. John’s also had a 34-point advantage (40-6) over the Mountaineers in the paint.
"You try to get as many easy baskets as you can and usually the team with the most easy baskets wins. They without question got the most easy baskets," said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.
The vast majority of West Virginia’s offense came from behind the 3-point arc, the Mountaineers going 13 of 36 from 3 while hitting just 25 of 66 overall (37.9 percent). At halftime, 22 of WVU’s 33 field goal tries came from behind the arc. St. John’s tried just six 3s for the game.
West Virginia (8-3, 0-1) led just three times, all in the first half at 6-5, 19-18 and 25-24. The Red Storm began to take control of the game early in the second half, getting 7 points from Justin Brownlee during a two-minute stretch to build their lead to eight at 45-37 with 16:07 remaining.
After a Truck Bryant runner and a Dalton Pepper 3 from the corner cut the lead to three, 47-44, St. John’s responded with another basket by Brownlee and then a Justin Burrell dunk. Burrell added a pair of free throws to get the lead up to nine.
The Red Storm’s biggest lead was 14 points with 2:58 remaining.
"They beat us in transition and when they didn't have it they ran offense," said Huggins.
Brownlee contributed 17 points and Burrell added 13 for St. John’s, which had a 37-27 advantage on the glass and really cashed in at the free throw line, going 30 of 39.
Kevin Jones led West Virginia with 17 points. Bryant added 14 points while Casey Mitchell and Jonnie West contributed 12 points each.
"They did what we thought they were going to do," said Huggins. "They played 1-3-1, they played 1-2-2 matchup and they matched up out of the 1-3-1. They did a good job. They took cutters through. They took shooters through - the non-shooters they just let go. They did a great job with their scouting report."
It was just the third double-digit loss at home for West Virginia under Huggins. The Mountaineers lost by 12 to Pitt in 2009 and by 23 to Cincinnati in 2008 during his first season coaching the Mountaineers.
West Virginia has a fast turnaround, playing Marquette in Milwaukee on New Year’s Day in an 11 a.m. game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2.