Posted by John Antonik on Friday, April 2, 2010
||West Virginia's Da'Sean Butlers up for a shot in this 2008 NCAA tournament game against Duke in Washington, D.C.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – West Virginia and Duke have not played a bunch of times - just 24 before Saturday night’s Final Four meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis - but there have been some memorable encounters through the years. Here are a few:
Duke 77, West Virginia 73
West Virginia and Duke played for the first time as members of the Southern Conference in Durham, the Blue Devils overcoming a 41-37 halftime deficit to defeat the Mountaineers, 77-73. Wilkinsburg, Pa.’s Dick Groat led the Blue Devils with 28 points while Mark Workman scored 22 for the Mountaineers before fouling out.
West Virginia 95, Duke 52
Twenty one days later the Mountaineers gained some revenge with a 95-52 dismantling of Duke at the Field House. Workman scored 19 and Eddie Becker added 18 in a game that was over by halftime with the Mountaineers leading 53-34.
Duke 90, West Virginia 88
Duke won a controversial 90-88 decision over ninth-ranked West Virginia in the Southern Conference tournament semifinals when West Virginia’s Jim Coalter was thrown to the ground, enabling Duke’s Dick Johnson to score the winning basket just as the horn sounded. Both teams hovered over the scorer’s table before it was determined that the goal would stand. West Virginia coach Red Brown earned praise for defusing the situation by shaking hands, first with the official that made the call, and then the Duke players and coaches.
Duke 115, West Virginia 75
Rookie coach Fred Schaus endured one of the worst beatings of his coaching career at Duke on Feb. 5, 1955 that ratcheted the rivalry up a few notches in the eyes of Mountaineer supporters. According to former Sports Information Director Rene Henry, Duke coach Hal Bradley gave Schaus a cool reception the day before the game when Schaus had requested some practice time in the gym. Then during the game when Duke fans began throwing debris on the court in response to an officials’ call, the public address announcer told them to cease doing that, explaining that they were endangering the Duke players while making no mention of their guests.
Duke 72, West Virginia 68
This four-point loss at Duke was West Virginia’s only loss of the regular season, the Mountaineers finishing the 1958 season ranked No. 1 in both polls. Jim Newcome scored 20 and Bobby Vernon added 18 for the Blue Devils, while Bob Smith led West Virginia with 24 points. Once again, the West Virginia players recalled Duke fans giving them a rough time.
“They were brutal,” remembered West Virginia forward Willie Akers.
West Virginia 101, Duke 63
To Fred Schaus’ immense irritation, Duke Coach Hal Bradley wanted to postpone their game with West Virginia to a later date because poor weather had made it difficult for the Blue Devils to travel to Morgantown on the day of the game. West Virginia suspected gamesmanship on Bradley’s part because he had a young team that he expected would be much better later in the year, so Schaus made Duke travel up for the game the following night. West Virginia poured it on, beating the Blue Devils 101-68.
“Fred never told us to run up the score on anyone but before that game he said, ‘If you get a chance to put one on them – do it!’” recalled Bob Smith.
Right after the game West Virginia had to drive down to Charleston to play a game against Virginia the next afternoon in the recently constructed Charleston Civic Center, the Mountaineers losing to the ACC bottom feeders 75-72, much to the delight of Duke rooters.
||West Virginia's Darryl Prue looks for a cutter during this 1989 NCAA tournament game against Duke in Greensboro, N.C.
Greg Hunter Blue & Gold News photo
Duke 86, West Virginia 81
Duke ended its semi-yearly trips to Morgantown after beating the Mountaineers 86-81 in the Mountaineer Classic. The Blue Devils had endured a rough flight up to Morgantown when several players got sick and Duke athletic director Eddie Cameron was overheard by a reporter traveling with the team say that never again would Duke play in Morgantown. Cameron’s word was good for 14 years until the Blue Devils eventually returned in 1977.
West Virginia 94, Duke 90
Pupil beat mentor when rookie coach Bucky Waters upset his former boss Vic Bubas, 94-90, in Charleston. Duke came into the game ranked No. 1 in the country and jumped out to a big lead before Waters put in his “Mongoose” lineup that pressed the Blue Devils all over the floor. After the game, Waters showed genuine remorse for beating his former team, which irked some WVU supporters that had questioned Waters’ loyalties. Bucky eventually replaced Bubas at Duke in 1969.
West Virginia 70, Duke 65
Bill Foster was in year three of his rebuilding job at Duke when he took the Blue Devils to Morgantown in 1977 to face the Mountaineers, led by a fiery point guard named Bob Huggins. Huggs got a technical during the game, but he also contributed 16 key points (all in the second half) to help WVU to a 70-65 victory. The following year, Foster led Duke back to the Final Four where it lost to Kentucky in St. Louis, 94-88.
Duke 70, West Virginia 63
West Virginia was hanging close to ninth-rated Duke in the second half of a 1989 NCAA tournament game in Greensboro, N.C., when a blocking call on Darryl Prue turned the momentum in Duke’s favor in a seven-point Blue Devil victory. Danny Ferry led all scorers with 20 points and freshman Christian Laettner added 14 for Duke, in the midst of making five straight trips to the Final Four.
West Virginia 73, Duke 67
West Virginia overcame a double-digit first half deficit to send Duke to a second-round NCAA tournament exit at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., in 2008. Forward Joe Alexander solidified his draft status with a 22-point, 11-rebound performance, and guard Joe Mazzulla came off the bench to score 13 points, grab 11 rebounds and hand out eight assists in a 73-67 Mountaineer victory.
There is a very good possiblity Saturday's night's Final Four game in Indianapolis will be added to the list.