WVU Wins Physical Game

  • January 26, 2010 11:48 PM
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By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
January 26, 2010


This one had a little bit of everything: clock malfunctions, flagrant fouls, technicals for hanging on the rim and both teams having a tough time making baskets. And oh by the way, ninth-ranked West Virginia defeated DePaul 62-46 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday night.

  West Virginia guard Darryl Bryant (25), has his shot blocked from behind by DePaul's Mike Stovall as Devin Hill defends under the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, in Rosemont. Ill.
AP photo

“It was a hard game to play,” admitted West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “It was a very, very difficult game to play for a lot of reasons.”

The Mountaineers ran their record to 16-3, 5-2, but it wasn’t easy. West Virginia jumped out to an early 20-4 lead before DePaul cut it down to four, 27-23.

After a clock malfunction delayed the start of the second half for nearly 10 minutes, West Virginia once again built its lead to 16 before DePaul fought back to to make it an 11-point game, 51-40. Then with 7:59 remaining, Krys Faber was called for a flagrant foul on Da’Sean Butler when he posted up Butler and his elbow caught Butler underneath his chin.

The officials went to the replay monitor to look at Faber’s foul, determined the elbow was flagrant, and tossed him from the game. Butler made both free throws to put the Mountaineers ahead by 13, and Huggins had had enough, instructing his team to run clock and get out of Dodge.

“We did what we had to do to win. Let’s just win and get out of here,” said Huggins.

Butler, Devin Ebanks, Truck Bryant and Wellington Smith each scored 14 points for WVU. Smith hit four 3s and was 5 of 8 overall from the floor for an otherwise cold-shooting Mountaineer team, which made only 19 of their 48 field goal tries for 39.6%.

“I don’t know how many shots we missed inside of three feet,” said Huggins. “We have got to start converting. We’re a little bit undersized but wow.”

DePaul was much worse, hitting only 16 of 50 from the floor for 32%, including 4 of 17 from 3-point distance for 23.5%.

Ebanks, called for a technical foul late in the game for hanging on the rim after a fastbreak dunk, pulled down nine rebounds but West Virginia only managed a 36-33 advantage on the glass. The Mountaineers came into the game ranked 10th in the country in rebound margin at plus-8.1 per game.

“We’ve got young big guys but we’ve got to get those guys to mature because (Mac) Koshwal - I thought had his way with us inside,” Huggins said. “I want to go back and look at the tape and find out why.”

West Virginia did shoot well from the free throw line, converting 18 of 23 for 78.3%.

“I thought Devin was really good today after he missed those three easy ones,” said Huggins. “He very easily could have gone for 22-24 points if he makes the easy ones. Wells gives us a big boost initially.”

Will Walker led DePaul, now 8-12, 1-7, with 17 points.

The Mountaineers have won all four games against DePaul since the Blue Demons joined the Big East. It was DePaul's fifth game for interim coach Tracy Webster, who replaced Jerry Wainwright on Jan. 11.

West Virginia will take Wednesday off and will then prepare for Saturday’s big showdown against Louisville at the Coliseum.

“I told them, ‘Take care of yourself tomorrow. If you’re nicked up a little bit get in and see Doc, get treated, and then let’s get ready on Thursday to prepare for Louisville,’” said Huggins.

The Louisville game will tip at noon and be televised nationally on ESPN.

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