West Virginia 74, Rutgers 56

  • February 22, 2009 06:48 PM
  • |
By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
February 22, 2009

west virginia 74, rutgers 56
rutgers athletic center
piscataway, n.j.
Wst Virginia 37 37 74
Rutgers 25 31 56
Stat Comparison
FG Made-Att 27-57 22-53
FG Percentage 47.4% 41.5%
3P Made-Att 7-17 5-16
3P Percentage 41.2% 31.3%
FT Made-Att 13-23 7-11
FT Percentage 56.5% 63.6%
Rebounds 39 30
Turnovers 14 16
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Rebounder
Devin Ebanks
14 Points
Devin Ebanks
11 Rebounds 

West Virginia did what it had to do and took care of business Sunday, defeating Rutgers 74-56 at the RAC.

With the victory, the Mountaineers boost their Big East record to 8-6 which moves them ½ game ahead of Providence into sixth place in the conference standings.

“It’s hard not looking and seeing what other people are doing. It comes down to we have to take care of our own business,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.

West Virginia got 14 points and 11 rebounds from freshman Devin Ebanks to lead five-double figure scorers. The last time West Virginia had five double-digit scorers came against Rutgers last season in Morgantown.

“We got 12 offensive rebounds and we got zero in the first half. We get 12 offensive rebounds in the second half and that’s the ballgame,” Huggins said. “There were a couple times when they cut it to four and we missed a shot, got the offensive rebound, and put it back.”

WVU, now 19-8 overall, led 37-25 at halftime before Rutgers came back to cut it to four, forcing Huggins to call timeout with 8:12 remaining. From that point, WVU used a 24-10 run to put Rutgers away.

“We had to make some changes because we weren’t attacking them,” Huggins said. “They were standing two guys in the lane guarding three guys. We had to get those other two guys into better position to make shots.”

Wellington Smith hit two huge baskets to key the run and also got one of his game-high five blocks. He finished 5 of 11 shooting for 12 points.

“It’s a four-point game and Wells makes two huge shots for us,” Huggins said. "He makes some big blocks for us and changed some other shots.”

West Virginia’s top two scorers Da’Sean Butler and Alex Ruoff combined to score just 24 points on 9 of 21 shooting. That is nearly 13 points below their combined season scoring average.

“When Da’Sean and Alex are sub-par, which they both were, it’s great to get a win,” Huggins said.

West Virginia shot 47.4 percent overall, including 7 of 17 from 3-point range for 41.2 percent.

“We’re going to have to win every game with our defense,” said Huggins. “Early on they didn’t know what to do and then like everybody else they tried to ball screen and beat us off the bounce because they couldn’t run anything. We did a pretty good job at times and not-so-good-of-a-job at other times.”

Rutgers shot 41.5 percent and committed 16 turnovers. Mike Rosario scored 15 and Gregory Echenique added 11 for the Scarlet Knights, now 10-17, 1-13.

“They were playing a 2-3 zone and we ran our motion. When we passed the ball we shot a layup,” Huggins said. “It’s a mental thing. We’ve just got to get tougher mentally to stay in what we do and do what we do well.”

West Virginia returns to the road to face Cincinnati Thursday night. The game is being televised nationally and the Bearcats are planning to honor former coach Bob Huggins before the game.

“Thursday is going to be a huge game for us. It will be kind of like today’s was. It’s a two-game swing with Cincinnati,” Huggins said. “If we can go in there and get them at their place we gain two games on them.”

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