Home » Conference Notes » Currently Reading:

West Virginia’s Second-Half Surge Tops Irish

February 19, 2009 Conference Notes No Comments

Alex Ruoff scorched the nets to the tune of 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting, and West Virginia reeled off a decisive 16-6 second half spurt, leading to the Mountaineers’ 79-68 victory over Notre Dame before a raucous 13,126 at WVU Coliseum last night.

This crass crowd littered the floor of the arena with 2:34 remaining, their reaction to a Luke Harangody foul.

A simple scrap for a loose ball between Harangody and Cam Thoroughman turned ugly. Fans felt Harangody got too physical and out of line during the play, and they clearly weren’t shy with their reaction.  Warnings would surface, but no fan was ejected.

With the win, the fresh-faced Mountaineers closed within a half game of Providence. It’s beginning to look like a mud-wrestle for sixth place, in a Big East conference that’s got a surplus of talent.

Providence (16-10, 8-6) was cooked to the recipe of a 94-76 blood-lettering by Louisville. The Cardinals came roaring back from a one-point deficit at the intermission, and the Friars couldn’t withstand a wild second-half rally.

The WVU/ND game was projected to be the battle of the snipers, as two ballclubs who employ a brand of basketball similar to a Wild Wild West flick came out firing.  Neither team, however, was too impressive from beyond the arc (Notre Dame shot 8-for-22 while WVU went 7-for-27), but Ruoff and a trio of New York-bred freshmen outhustled, out-toughed, and eventually clamped down on the Irish and the inside-outside tandem of Harangody and Kyle McAlarney.

The once dynamic duo combined for 38 points. The Irish, however, were negated by a 6 minute, 45 second scoring drought. It underscored a second-half power outage.

Ruoff, known simply as a trigger man the past three years, proved he’s upped his full offensive package.  The senior busted out stepback jumpers, went to the hole, and had a huge putback – which cut Notre Dame’s early lead to one point – in the first half.

“He’s really worked. You have to give him tremendous credit,” said Mountaineers coach Bobby Huggins.

“He shot the ball really well today, but he hadn’t shot the ball well before. He’s found ways to score. He’s become more versatile. He’s become maybe our best defender – period.”

Freshman Kevin Jones, who hails from the rich basketball breeding grounds of Mount Vernon, N.Y. (see: Gordon, Ben) turned in a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards.

Jones wasn’t alone.  Devin Ebanks, the ultra-long freshman from Long Island City, N.Y., scored 11 points and ripped down nine rebounds.

Huggins, who typically doesn’t like playing freshmen, has gotten solid production out of the three-headed monster of Jones, Ebanks, and Darryl “Truck” Bryant.  Bryant, though, was a non-factor last night, as he went 0-for-7, contributing to WVU’s woeful shooting.

“I reminded them we can’t shoot so we have to rebound,” said Huggins.

“They were switching some things, which gave us some mismatches. We had some pretty good shots, but we didn’t make them. We weren’t in great position to rebound.”

The Irish, who have now lost eight of their last ten, couldn’t rebound from their second-half dry spell. They cut it to 64-59 following a 9-2 surge capped off by Harangody’s three-point play, but they couldn’t inch any closer.

Chants of “NIT” rang out across the arena in the final minute.

“A lot of teams would have given up right now, but that’s not us,” Harangody told USATODAY.Com.  “There’s a lot of basketball still to be played.”

ND came out on all cylinders, jumping out with a 10-2 burst after McAlarney’s corner trey. West Virginia stormed back, as Ruoff drained a three and then a mid-range jumper completing a personal 7-0 run and pulling WVU to within four with 8:53 to go.

Ruoff’s aforementioned putback cut ND’s lead to 37-36 but Ryan Ayers – the son of Washington Wizards assistant coach Randy Ayers – drilled a 3-pointer to bump the Irish ahead, 40-36.

Moments later, Jones’ bucket deadlocked it at 40. Da’Sean Butler got into the paint for the go-ahead bucket, sending the Mountaineers into halftime with the momentum rolling.

Butler, who erupted for 43 points in a statement win over Villanova, finished with 19 points.

Harangody, the defending Big East Player of the Year, scored a game-high 26 points and pulled down 12 boards.

Comment on this Article:







Advertisement

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

hofstra

The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

cornell

Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by

bigten

The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by

sunbelt

Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

bigsky

The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

meac

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter