Butler, Ebanks Lead WVU

  • February 03, 2010 10:29 PM
  • |
By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
February 3, 2010


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Da’Sean Butler’s 18 points led No. 6 West Virginia to a 70-51 victory over No. 22 Pitt Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum in the 179th Backyard Brawl. Kevin Jones added 16 points and Devin Ebanks grabbed 16 rebounds to get the Mountaineers to 18-3, 7-2, on the season.

  Devin Ebanks pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds during West Virginia's 70-51 win over Pitt Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum.
Dale Sparks/All-Pro Photography

“Usually when Pitt and West Virginia get together it does have a little bit of everything,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.

West Virginia had several double-digit leads only to see Pitt come back almost every time. Trailing 20-10, the Panthers scored five straight points to cut West Virginia’s lead to 20-15. Then trailing 26-15, Pitt used a 9-0 run to pull within two, 26-24, on Ashton Gibbs’ 3 with 3:33 left in the first half.

“They’re terrific at dribble penetration and I think out of 28 (first-half) points, 24 of them were in the paint if I’m not mistaken,” said Huggins. “They had 14 on dribble-drives, 6 on free throws and then we gave up 4 by just throwing the ball to them in our half-court offense.”

Early in the second half, West Virginia again led by 10, 42-32, and once again Pitt made a run. Free throws by Jermaine Dixon and layups by J.J. Richardson and Nasir Robinson pulled the Panthers to within four, 42-38.

A minute later, Richardson got Pitt’s deficit down to two at 43-41 with 12:54 to go. Action was interrupted at that point when debris was thrown onto the floor, prompting a reprimand on the public address system by Huggins.

Action was stopped once again with 5:14 left in the game when John Flowers and Gary McGhee got tangled up underneath Pitt’s basket after Flowers rebounded Nasir Robinson’s miss.

McGhee was called for a personal foul, but technical fouls were called on Ebanks, Robinson and the WVU crowd during the disturbance.

Gibbs made one of the two technical free throws and Flowers converted both free throws on the other end to give West Virginia a 58-45 lead.

The margin swelled to 16, then 18, and finally to 21 points.

“We went point-drop, which is maybe a little bit harder to rebound out of because you don’t have a set man responsibility,” Huggins said. “Then we tried to play some 1-3-1 and we didn’t play it very well. I think our man was our best defense because we had guys who knew what their responsibilities were.”

West Virginia had a 45-31 advantage on the glass, including a 29-16 margin in the second half; the Panthers shot just 30.2% from the floor. In the second half Pitt was 6 of 30 for 20%.

“Dev got us started off,” said Huggins. “He was terrific early and he had 16 rebounds. Plus he guarded Ashton Gibbs, who is pretty good by the way. I thought today Dev was probably our best player.”

WVU made 9-fo-21 3s with five different players making at least one. Freshman center Deniz Kilicli made his college debut with 9 points and one rebound coming off the bench. He played only seven minutes.

“I wanted to play him a little more because he scores for us, but there are just so many things he just doesn’t understand on the other end yet,” said Huggins.

A crowd of 15,419 – the third largest in Coliseum history – watched tonight’s game.

Pitt got 13 points from Dixon and 11 from Gibbs. The Panthers have now dropped four of their last five games and are 16-6, 6-4.

West Virginia has now won two straight against Pitt, which had claimed five of the last eight games in Morgantown heading into tonight’s action.

Huggins also tied Oregon State’s Ralph Miller for 22nd place on the NCAA all-time win list with 657. Only three active college coaches have won more games than Huggins.

Butler moved past All-American Rod Thorn into fifth place on WVU’s career scoring list with 1,789 points. He can pass Greg Jones for fourth place Saturday at St. John’s with 9 points.

West Virginia faces the Red Storm in a noon game at Madison Square Garden that will be televised nationally on ESPNU.