West Virginia hands UConn first loss
Morgantown, WV (Sports Network) – Frank Young scored 22 points and Da’Sean
Butler added 16, as West Virginia handed 12th-ranked Connecticut its first
loss with an 81-71 decision at WVU Coliseum.
Darris Nichols chipped in 14 points and Joe Alexander scored 12 for the
Mountaineers (11-1, 1-0 Big East), who have won six in a row since their lone
loss of the season against Arkansas on November 26. West Virginia remained
unbeaten in 21 December home games under head coach John Beilein.
Doug Wiggins scored 20 points for the Huskies (11-1, 0-1), who ventured
outside the state of Connecticut for the first time this season. Marcus
Johnson contributed 16 points and eight rebounds in defeat.
West Virginia took control of the first half with a 13-1 run to break an 8-8
Butler scored the first seven points of the spurt with a pair of layups and a
three-pointer. Nichols added a layup for West Virginia before a Curtis Kelly
free throw briefly interrupted the run. Young then drilled a three-pointer,
and a free throw by Butler gave the Mountaineers a 21-9 advantage.
Six straight points pulled the Huskies within six a few minutes later, but
West Virginia maintained a comfortable lead down the stretch until a late
three by Wiggins sent UConn into the break down just 38-31.
The Huskies trailed 48-42 early in the second half, but West Virginia opened
some breathing room with an 8-0 run. Butler scored four during the burst and
UConn never threatened again.
A three-pointer by Young with just under 9 1/2 minutes left gave the
Mountaineers a 67-50 cushion and the Huskies got only as close as the final
Young was 7-of-14 from the field and hit 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. Butler,
meanwhile, hit his first five shots and finished 7-of-10 overall. West
Virginia shot 49 percent from the floor and held UConn to just 39 percent.
The Huskies entered the game leading the nation with an average of 10.8
blocks, but swatted just three in this one.
UConn held a 46-36 advantage on the boards…The Huskies made only 13-of-27
free throws…West Virginia had lost six straight in the series and beat UConn
for the first time since February 11, 1998…UConn still owns an 11-3 series