Jan. 30, 2010
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -Da’Sean Butler scored a season-high 27 points, including the go-ahead basket with 16 seconds remaining, and No. 9 West Virginia rallied from a big second-half deficit to beat Louisville 77-74 on Saturday.
The Mountaineers (17-3, 6-2 Big East) came from 12 down midway through the second half to snap a four-game losing streak to the Cardinals (13-8, 4-4), who managed only two baskets over the final seven minutes.
Kevin Jones added 16 points for West Virginia and Wellington Smith had 12.
Samardo Samuels and Reginald Delk scored 16 points apiece for Louisville, which fell to 0-4 against ranked teams this season and faces quite the climb the rest of the season to get back into the NCAA tournament picture.
Louisville seemed to be in control after Samuels’ layup put the Cardinals ahead 65-53 with 10 minutes left, but they made only three field goals the rest of the game.
Jones scored eight points during an 11-0 run, including a three-point play that tied the score 70-all with 3:01 left.
After the teams traded baskets, Devin Ebanks snared a long rebound with 41 seconds left that extended a long possession for West Virginia. After a timeout, Butler hit a 15-foot jumper off an inbound pass to put the Mountaineers ahead for good.
Delk missed a 3-point try with 9 seconds left. Butler was fouled and made two free throws for the final margin.
Mike Marra’s long attempt at the buzzer for Louisville never hit the rim.
Coach Bob Huggins, who earned his first win in four tries at West Virginia over Louisville’s Rick Pitino, has always preached starting and finishing strong. His team did just that.
In between, it fell apart.
West Virginia raced to a 13-0 lead in the first three minutes, then behind Siva’s three 3-pointers, 11 first-half points from Delk and a full-court press, Louisville steadied itself.
The Cardinals shot 61 percent (17 of 28) from the floor in the first half, led 44-40 at halftime and stretched the lead further down the stretch.
Despite the comeback, West Virginia shot below 50 percent from the field for the ninth straight game. And for the second straight time, the Mountaineers got little help from their bench: Louisville outscored the Mountaineer reserves 26-5.
On Louisville’s side, the Terrence Jennings experiment is still a work in progress.
The 6-foot-10 sophomore got his second straight start but Louisville’s big lineup failed to produce a point or rebound over the first three minutes. Jennings played just 17 minutes and finished with four points.