Bombs Away


By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
December 23, 2008

West Virginia 89 radford 54
WVU Coliseum
morgantown, w.va.
Summary
 
1
2
F
Radford 24 30 54
West Virginia 37 52 89
Stat Comparison
 
FG Made-Att 18-45 28-71
FG Percentage 40.0% 39.4%
3P Made-Att 4-17 12-30
3P Percentage 23.5% 40.0%
FT Made-Att 14-23 21-29
FT Percentage 60.9% 72.4%
Rebounds 31 48
Turnovers 25 9
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Rebounder
Alex Ruoff
38 Points
Devin Ebanks
10 Rebounds

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Alex Ruoff has two explanations for why he was able to score a career-high 38 points that also included a school-record nine 3-point field goals in West Virginia’s 89-54 victory over Radford Tuesday night.

One, Coach Bob Huggins fixed a minor flaw in his shooting stroke and two, Ruoff was disappointed that Radford ruined an opportunity to get a brief vacation by wanting to play two days before Christmas and four days before the Mountaineers’ showdown at No. 13 Ohio State on Saturday.

“Coach told us before the game, ‘You guys would be home right now if it wasn’t for tonight.’ I wanted to see my family on Christmas,” Ruoff joked.

So he went out and took control of a game that already had a Christmas vacation feel to it. It took the Mountaineers nearly 15 minutes to separate themselves from the 3-8 Highlanders. At halftime, West Virginia led 37-24 and 15 of those 37 points came from Ruoff.

Ruoff said Huggins made a slight adjustment to the thumb on his shooting hand.

“I haven’t been shooting it great and I worked with Coach this week and he kind of fixed something with my form with my hand and my thumb,” he said. “It’s helped a lot and I’m definitely going to listen to whatever he tells me.”

Ruoff made five of his nine 3s in the first half and he soon began to realize that he was on a record-setting pace when his teammates began feeding him the ball.

“They were real supportive and they’re very unselfish and were trying to get me the ball. Two of my 3s came on offensive rebounds on kick outs,” Ruoff said. “I hate that expression the rim looks so big but you feel like as long as you get your follow through … the one shot I got from Kevin (Jones) I didn’t really have the ball in my hand and I just kind of threw it up there and it still went it. That shows how when you play with confidence how much better you can play.”

“He didn’t like the fact that he was running around crazy trying to shoot the ball and it kind of put a little more pressure on him,” added teammate Da’Sean Butler.

Ruoff is thankful he got the ninth 3 when he did because he was firing blanks trying to get his 10th one, missing three in a row before Huggs finally took him out of the game with a minute to go.

“I looked dumb at the end trying to get another one. I don’t know what I was doing?” Ruoff said. “I was running around like a little kid.”

“I tried everything I could do to get him 10,” Huggins said.

Ruoff said it started messing with his mind when he realized that he was just two points shy of scoring 40. The most he had ever scored in a game was 44 during high school.

“Coach was calling my number and I appreciate that,” Ruoff said. “I took a fade away and that didn’t make him happy but we got the rebound and I made the shot so he was only mad for a couple seconds.

“After we huddled up Coach came up to me and said, ‘How many plays do I have to run for you to get a shot?’ I think he was aware more than I was.”

Butler isn’t biting on that one.

“It’s not real hard now when you look up and see that scoreboard,” Butler said. “He probably looked up there a couple of times and saw how many points he was getting.

“Yeah, he’s not stupid. He’s a pretty smart guy.”

West Virginia's previous high for 3s in a game was eight made by three different players, most recently by Frank Young against Villanova in 2007.

Ruoff was one short of the WVU record of 15 3s tried by Jonathan Hargett against James Madison in 2001.

Briefly:

  • Devin Ebanks had another double-digit rebounding performance with 10 boards while also scoring 9 points. Ebanks has had at least 10 rebounds in four of his last five games. The one game he failed to pull down 10 against Miami University he played only 11 minutes because of knee and ankle injuries sustained in practice the day before.

  • Butler and Truck Bryant scored 11 points each for the Mountaineers, now 9-2 on the season. Bryant left the game late in the second half when he turned his ankle trying to make a pass to Ruoff on a fast break. He did not return.

  • West Virginia had a 48-31 advantage on the glass which offset a sub-standard 39.4 percent shooting performance. Radford shot 40 percent and committed 25 turnovers.

  • The victory tonight was the 625th of Coach Bob Huggins’ career. Only three active coaches in college basketball own more wins than Huggins.

  • West Virginia’s game at Ohio State on Saturday will be televised nationally on CBS. The Buckeyes defeated UNC Asheville on Monday night and boast a perfect 9-0 record.



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