Elon Erased

  • November 15, 2008 09:51 PM
  • |
By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
November 15, 2008

Elon 47, West Virginia 92
WVU Coliseum
Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia
Stat Comparison
FG Made-Att 16-44 34-58
FG Percentage 36.4% 58.6%
3P Made-Att 4-12 10-17
3P Percentage 33.3% 58.8%
FT Made-Att 11-14 14-24
FT Percentage 78.6% 58.3%
Rebounds 22 38
Turnovers 24 11
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Rebounder
Da'Sean Butler / Alex Ruoff
19 Points
Da'Sean Butler
6 Rebounds

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A 54-point outburst in the second half allowed the West Virginia University Mountaineers to run away with a 92-47 victory over Elon on Saturday evening at the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (1-0) out-rebounded the Phoenix (0-1) 38-22, including a 12-5 advantage in offensive rebounds. WVU also shot an impressive 34-of-58 (58.6 percent) from the floor, while Elon was 16-of-44 (36.4 percent).

“If we run our offense I think we are going to get pretty good shots because when we do try to share it we pass it well,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “We have a lot of guys who can put pressure on the rim. It is just going to take some time.”

Senior Alex Ruoff and junior Da’Sean Butler led WVU with 19 points apiece. Butler was also the team’s leading rebounder, grabbing six boards to go along with his 8-of-13 shooting performance.

“Our defense was OK,” said Huggins. “We had some breakdowns. They turned it over 15 times in the first half and nine in the second. We tried to stay in front of them a little bit more in the second half than we did in the first.”

Another key to the Mountaineers’ season-opening win was their bench, which outscored the Phoenix 33-7. Darryl “Truck” Bryant had 12 points, including 2-for-2 from the three-point line, and Kevin Jones added nine points to lead WVU off the bench.

WVU was 10-of-17 from the three-point line (58.8 percent) and forced 24 turnovers. Butler and Ruoff also led the Mountaineers with six steals apiece, while Wellington Smith registered two blocks to help make his presence felt on the defensive end.

The Mountaineers extended their 11-point halftime lead to 20 on Butler’s 3-pointer with 12:48 left in the second half. A 29-5 run ensued, capped by a 3 from the right wing by freshman Devin Ebanks to make it 80-41 with 5:29 remaining.

Another 3-pointer by Bryant created a 40-point margin for WVU at the 4:51 mark. Bryant also made an acrobatic drive in transition earlier in the half when he faked a pass to his right and delivered on a difficult finish with his left hand.

The Phoenix hung with WVU throughout most of the first half, trailing 38-27 at the break. Ruoff started out the game by utilizing his improved post-up game, backing down his defender before hitting a turnaround layup to give the Mountaineers their first official basket of the season.

Elon’s reasonable deficit hit double figures with 3:16 left in the first half when freshman Dee Proby sank a free throw to make it 31-21. An offensive rebound and put-back by Jones on WVU’s next possession, which contributed to its 22-5 advantage in second chance points, gave the Mountaineers a 12-point lead. A Ruoff free throw with 1:12 left gave made it 36-23, WVU's biggest of the first half.

Both teams shot well in the first half, as the Mountaineers started out 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) while the Phoenix was 11-of-20 (55 percent). Elon received an immediate burst from preseason all-Southern Conference selection Brett James, who made two 3-pointers within the first five minutes.

“We just got overwhelmed with the athleticism and the physicality was a bit much for us,” said Elon coach Ernie Nestor. “It’s tough way to start the season because you come in and probably play the best team that you are going to play all year. They’re an excellent basketball team, well coached, and athletic.”

James and Adam Constantine led the Phoenix with 12 points apiece.

“I looked out at our student section and they were over there early,” Huggins said. ‘A bunch of them were over there about a quarter of five and that is a great sign. Looking up there, that was a great turnout for the student section.”

West Virginia’s announced attendance of 10,250 was just the second time in the 38-year history of the WVU Coliseum that more than 10,000 showed up for a November game (the other was for LSU when Jerry West’s number was retired).

The Mountaineers return to action on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. for a home contest against Longwood.