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Flowers Leads WVU Rout


By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
November 29, 2008

West Virginia 87 Iowa 68
LAS VEGAS INVITATIONAL
FIRST ROUND
Summary
 
1
2
F
Iowa 29 39 68
West Virginia 48 39 87
Stat Comparison
 
FG Made-Att 20-37 31-56
FG Percentage 54.1% 55.4%
3P Made-Att 8-16 10-18
3P Percentage 50.0% 55.6%
FT Made-Att 20-29 15-34
FT Percentage 69.0% 44.1%
Rebounds 25 32
Turnovers 21 10
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Rebounder
John Flowers
14 Points
John Flowers
8 Rebounds

Sophomore John Flowers came off the bench to score 14 points and grab eight rebounds to lead six double-figure scorers in West Virginia’s 87-68 victory over Iowa in the opening game of the Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Center in downtown Las Vegas.

“We played pretty hard most of the game and I think at the end our rebounding kept the spread for us because we weren’t making any shots,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.

Flowers scored all 14 of his points from the floor on 7 of 8 shooting; Flowers was 0 for 7 from the free throw line. Had West Virginia converted at least half of its missed free throws in the second half the final margin could have easily been 25 points or more.

“Free throw shooting is like a disease,” Huggins said. “If you have somebody up there miss three or four and then somebody else goes up there and misses two, then it just spreads through you. We’re a better shooting than that.”

Joe Mazzulla had his best offensive game of the year scoring 13 points and handing out six assists, matching Alex Ruoff’s 13 points on four 3-point field goals and 1 of 2 from the free throw line. Ruoff has now made 11 3s in his last two games.

Da’Sean Butler contributed 12 and Wellington Smith and Truck Bryant scored 10 each for the Mountaineers, now 4-0.

“I’m a big believer in you do what you’re good at. If you want to do something else get good at it,” Huggins said. “We’ve got to do what we do well.”

West Virginia used an early 20-0 run to turn an 11-9 deficit into a commanding 29-11 lead and never looked back. The Mountaineers forced 17 first-half Iowa turnovers, turning those into 29 points in rolling up a 48-29 halftime lead.

Both teams in the second half were plagued by fouls, missed free throws and turnovers. West Virginia was 10 of 12 from the foul line in the first half but finished the game 15 of 34.

Anthony Tucker led Iowa with a game-high 24 points on 6 of 9 from 3-point range. Jake Kelly scored 15 and Jeff Peterson added 11.

“We played pretty well defensively and then we stopped moving our feet and we put them on the free throw line and you can’t put a team like that on the free throw line,” Huggins said.

The Hawkeyes shot 54 percent for the game, a shade below West Virginia’s 55.4 percent field goal percentage.

The Hawkeyes fall to 5-1.

“We’re cutting them up in our offense. John (Flowers) gets a couple of back cuts. Alex (Ruoff) gets a couple of wide open standstill 3s. Truck gets a standstill 3 and then we’ve got to shoot a step-back,” Huggins said. “I’m all for shooting a step-back if that is what the situation is called for.

“But the situation doesn’t call for that. They’re behind 20, they’re chasing us. Let’s do our thing,” Huggins said.

West Virginia will play the winner of Kentucky-Kansas State Saturday night at 10:30 pm ET in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

“We’ve just got to keep grinding and getting better,” Huggins said. “It’s a good win. We’ve just got to keep getting better.”

Briefly:

  • West Virginia has now won 34 of its last 37 non-Big East games, including post-season action. The Mountaineers are 2-2 in games played in Nevada, last playing in the Jim Thorpe Classic in 2002.

  • West Virginia evened its series record against Iowa at 1-1. The only previous time the two schools met was in 1956 when the Hawkeyes beat the Mountaineers 79-76 in the Dixie Classic in Raleigh, N.C.

  • West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is within five games of passing Norm Sloan for 28th place on the NCAA all-time win list. Huggins now shows 620 career victories.



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