WVU Claims Another League Win

  • January 28, 2009 09:36 PM
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By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
January 28, 2009

St. John's 52, West Virginia 75
wvu coliseum
Morgantown, w.va.
St. John's 20 32 52
West Virginia 36 39 75
Stat Comparison
FG Made-Att 18-49 28-63
FG Percentage 36.7% 44.4%
3P Made-Att 1-6 8-23
3P Percentage 16.7% 34.8%
FT Made-Att 15-23 11-12
FT Percentage 65.2% 91.7%
Rebounds 33 39
Turnovers 18 14
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Scorer
 Da'Sean Butler
21 Points
Alex Ruoff
17 Points

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A fine collective effort on the defensive end enabled WVU to defeat St. John’s, 75-52, Wednesday evening at the WVU Coliseum.

West Virginia (15-5, 4-3 Big East) proved why it boasts one of the top defenses in the Big East, holding the Red Storm (11-9, 2-6 Big East) to 36.7 percent shooting (18 of 49) while forcing 18 turnovers. WVU was effective at making St. John’s offensive miscues count, totaling 23 points off turnovers to help create easy buckets.

Led by Da’Sean Butler and Alex Ruoff once again, the Mountaineers staved off the possibility of an untimely loss and protected their home court. Butler tallied 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. The Newark, N.J., resident has led the Mountaineers in scoring in four consecutive contests, and has led or tied for the team lead in scoring in seven of the last eight games.

Butler holds another impressive streak, scoring 20 or more points in four consecutive contests.

Ruoff also reached double figures, scoring 17 points on 7-of-17 shooting as he split time at point guard and shooting guard. The Spring Hill, Fla., resident grabbed six rebounds, dished out seven assists, and tallied four steals in a fine all-around performance.

Devin Ebanks reeled in 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting while tallying a team-high eight boards. The freshman was efficient in WVU’s half court sets on offense and was one of several Mountaineers who smothered the Red Storm on defense.

WVU was also willing to showcase its full court 2-1-2 press in the first half, using it on made baskets for a short period of time. One possession by St. John’s in the first half resulted in a forced turnover and an easy Ruoff layup because of WVU’s activity on the defensive end.

The Mountaineers led comfortably from the onset. In the second half, WVU heated up offensively and reached a 20-point margin with 14:17 left courtesy of two Ebanks free throws as a result of an intentional foul by the Red Storm’s Paris Horne. WVU outscored St. John’s, 39-32, in the final 20 minutes.

With 6:17 left in the game, another Ebanks jumper gave WVU a comfortable 65-34 lead. Butler followed with another 3-pointer, and spark plug Kevin Jones made it 70-43 on a layup with three minutes left. Jones chipped in with eight points and six rebounds.

WVU edged St. John’s in the rebounding battle, 39-32. Wellington Smith was a force inside on defense, posting a game-high five blocked shots in nine minutes of action while the Mountaineers totaled nine blocked shots for the game.

Although West Virginia was outscored 30-22 in the paint, they made use of their extra opportunities around the glass by nabbing 11 second-chance points compared to two by the Red Storm. WVU continues to get better at the free throw line, going 11-of-12. The Mountaineers have made 50 of their last 63 free throws (79.4 percent) spanning the last four contests.

WVU shot 44.4 percent (28 of 63) from the floor, but had one of their better offensive games in conference play because of their efficiency at the charity stripe.

WVU was solid defensively and led 36-20 at halftime. The Mountaineers held the Red Storm without a bucket for nearly 4 ½ minutes to start the game until Sean Evans scored on a layup at the 15:43 mark.

Butler led WVU with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting in the first half. WVU’s leading scorer showcased his outside game by nailing 3-of-4 treys to boost the Mountaineers. Ruoff notched nine points through the first 20 minutes, as he was ready and willing to shoot the ball and get more touches throughout the contest.

Darryl “Truck” Bryant also had a sound first half on offense, making 4-of-6 shots for 8 points. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native was aggressive yet again driving to the basket, including a layup at the 19:17 mark in which he committed his dribble across the right lane before going behind the back to finish on the left side.

WVU’s victory over St. John’s marks its ninth consecutive win over the Red Storm. The Mountaineers’ home win is their fifth straight against the Johnnies in Morgantown.

WVU finishes the week with a tough conference road matchup at No. 7 Louisville on Saturday, Jan. 31. Tip-off is set for Noon and will be televised on the Big East Network.