WVU Claims Fifth Straight

  • January 03, 2009 07:05 PM
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By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
January 3, 2009

West Virginia 92, seton hall 66
prudential center
newark, n.j.
West Virginia 40 52 92
Seton Hall 31 35 66
Stat Comparison
FG Made-Att 32-60 23-52
FG Percentage 53.3% 44.2%
3P Made-Att 8-18 2-9
3P Percentage 44.4% 22.2%
FT Made-Att 20-25 18-24
FT Percentage 80.0% 75.0%
Rebounds 39 28
Turnovers 13 15
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Scorer
Alex Ruoff
18 Points
Da'Sean Butler
18 Points

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia used 18 points each from Da’Sean Butler and Alex Ruoff to defeat Seton Hall 92-66 in the Mountaineers’ Big East opener Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Ruoff scored his team-high-tying 18 points while taking just six shots. Ruoff had an efficient stat line that included 4 of 6 from the floor, 2 of 4 from 3, 8 of 8 from the foul line with four assists and a pair of steals.

“Alex Ruoff took six shots and he got 18 points. I think that shows how much the kid has matured,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “He now will attack the basket and get to the foul line. He didn’t get to the foul line before and I think he’s done a heck of a job of really expanding on his game.”

West Virginia (11-2, 1-0) worked Seton Hall (9-5, 0-2) over on the glass, particularly in the second half when it built its lead to 20 after the Pirates closed to eight with 7:44 remaining on a Jeremy Hazell lay up.

John Flowers answered with a put-back basket, another offensive board led to a Ruoff 3 and Da’Sean Butler’s offensive rebound resulted in a Devin Ebanks bucket.

“We responded in the second half,” Huggins said. “I kept thinking that we weren’t playing very well and I kept looking up and we had lost only one point. And then we kind of made some shots.”

West Virginia finished the game with 15 offensive rebounds and had a 39-28 overall advantage on the back board.

Flowers gave the Mountaineers a big lift off the bench when Wellington Smith got into early foul trouble. Flowers wound up playing 26 minutes, scoring 14 points, pulling down seven rebounds and making three steals. Flowers was also 4 of 4 from the free throw line after coming into the game shooting just 24 percent.

Kevin Jones also provided quality minutes off the bench scoring 12 points and grabbing five rebounds in 13 minutes.

West Virginia’s bench outscored Seton Hall’s 33-10.

“They gave us good minutes. Cam (Thoroughman) played 13 minutes, Kevin Jones played 13 minutes and we get 26 minutes from John Flowers, who played hurt. He sprained his ankle yesterday,” Huggins said.

“Wells played 10 minutes and he never really got into the flow of things. I am looking at the stats and I probably should have played Kevin Jones more,” Huggins said. “He plays 13 minutes and gets 12 points and five rebounds – four of them offensive.”

Late in the first half Seton Hall reduced West Virginia’s lead to three, 34-31, after a Eugene Harvey free throw with 1:57 remaining. But the Mountaineers got two from Flowers on a pretty assist by Thoroughman and a pair of stick backs by Ebanks and Jones pushed the lead back out to nine at halftime.

Ebanks finished the game with 10 points and nine rebounds while Truck Bryant added 10 points and committing just one turnover against Seton Hall’s full-court pressure.

Overall, the Mountaineers shot 53.6 percent (32 of 60) including 8 of 18 from 3-point range. West Virginia was also 20 of 25 (80 percent) from the free throw line.

Seton Hall got a game-high 29 points from Hazell and 13 from Eugene Harvey.

Including today’s 26-point victory over Seton Hall, West Virginia has outscoring its opponents by an average of 31.3 points per game in its last four wins against Miami, Radford, Ohio State and Seton Hall.

Huggins is happy his team performed well in the second half against Seton Hall after having what he believed were so-so practices leading into today’s game.

“Syracuse was lucky to get out of Tampa. That’s what we kept telling our guys. You look at Seton Hall. Well, they lost to James Madison. That was on the road. They lost to IUPUI. Well they had just lost the game before and they did not bounce back and respond,” Huggins explained. “They are going to beat people in here. Now that we’re done with them they can just keep beating people.”

West Virginia returns to the Coliseum on Tuesday for a Big East game against No. 2-ranked Connecticut. Tip off is set for 7 pm and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

“Tuesday we get Connecticut and Saturday we go to Marquette, who just beat Villanova at home. It never stops,” Huggins said. “We have to bring our ‘A’ game every time out because we don’t have a guy out there that erases mistakes.”

There are limited tickets remaining for that game and they can be purchased online by logging onto WVUGAME.com or by calling the Mountaineer Ticket Office Monday morning at 1-800-WVU GAME.