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
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
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.