West Virginia 82, DePaul 63

  • March 04, 2009 09:57 PM
  • |
By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
March 4, 2009

West Virginia 82, Depaul 63
WVU Coliseum
Morgantown, W.va.
DePaul 36 27 63
West Virginia 43 39 82
Stat Comparison
FG Made-Att 22-55 32-70
FG Percentage 40.0% 45.7%
3P Made-Att 11-18 10-22
3P Percentage 61.1% 45.5%
FT Made-Att 8-14 8-12
FT Percentage 57.1% 66.7%
Rebounds 30 48
Turnovers 14 12
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Rebounder
Alex Ruoff
20 Points
Devin Ebanks
14 Rebounds

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia reached the double digit mark in Big East victories by defeating DePaul, 82-63, on Wednesday evening at the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (21-9, 10-7) seem all but assured of an NCAA postseason bid after defending their home court once more. Alex Ruoff led WVU with 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting. The Spring Hill, Fla., native scored all his points from beyond the arc, nailing six 3-pointers to move into a tie for first place on the school’s all-time 3-point field goals list with former Mountaineer Kevin Pittsnoggle at 253.

Scoring was at a premium for WVU, which tied for its ninth highest point total of the season against the Blue Demons (8-22, 0-17). The Mountaineers shot well as a team, making 32-of-70 shots (45.7 percent) as several players got involved in the scoring mix.

Da’Sean Butler was one of five double-figure scorers for the Mountaineers. The versatile junior finished with a double-double at 16 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Devin Ebanks followed with one of his own at 14 points and 14 boards.

Kevin Jones had another strong performance in a span of 25 minutes off the bench. Jones tallied 13 points and nine boards as he found away to make a presence both inside the paint and with his improving mid-range game.

“I think that the freshmen are getting better,” Coach Bob Huggins said. “Kevin Jones is playing with a lot of confidence and I think it is a shame if he is not on the All-Big East Rookie team. What he has contributed to this basketball team … without a question I think Devin Ebanks is in, but Kevin is very deserving. He has just gotten better and better.”

The Mountaineers reigned on the glass once again, out-rebounding the Blue Demons, 48-30. WVU also had a large edge in second chance points, winning the put-back battle, 17-4, which was aided by its 22 offensive rebounds.

Continuing his stretch of solid play was Darryl “Truck” Bryant, who totaled 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting in 33 minutes. The freshman point guard also dished out six assists compared to just three turnovers.

With Cincinnati’s 70-59 loss to USF on Tuesday evening, the WVU victory assures the Mountaineers of a first-round bye in the revamped Big East Tournament. WVU is currently locked in a three-way tie with Providence and Syracuse for the sixth seed, and owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Providence but not the Orange.

“We don’t have to play on Tuesday,” Huggins stated. “It should be a rule that if your game ends at midnight on Saturday, then you shouldn’t play on Tuesday.”

WVU held DePaul to just 33.3 percent shooting in the second half, but allowed guard Will Walker to score 31 points.

“We did a much better job the second half,” Huggins said. “We need to concentrate on doing what we did the second half than what we did the first half. They were like most people; they had a hard time scoring when we didn’t throw it to them. We have to do a better job at not throwing it too them. We have to gear it back up defensively.”

WVU found it difficult to contain Walker in the first half. DePaul’s third-leading scorer notched 18 points, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Ruoff also used the long-range shot to his advantage, making four treys to help give the Mountaineers a 43-36 halftime lead.

The Mountaineers, however, did manage to contain DePaul’s second-leading scorer in Mac Koshwal. The sophomore center, averaging 13.4 points per game, went scoreless for the first time this season against one of the league’s top defenses.

With his 637th career victory at the Division I level on Wednesday night, Huggins moves into a tie with former Washington and Washington State coach Marv Harshman for 25th place on the all-time winningest men’s basketball coaches list.

The Mountaineers end their regular season with home matchup against sixth-ranked Louisville on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m., and Ruoff will be honored prior to the game as part of senior night. The 1959 team has also been invited back for a 50-year reunion of the school’s only trip to the NCAA Finals in Louisville, Ky.