St. John's Can't Hold Lead As No. 6/6 WVU Wins At The Garden|
Feb. 6, 2010
NEW YORK (AP) - Da'Sean Butler scored a season-high 33 points, hitting all seven 3-point attempts, and No. 6/6 West Virginia rallied for a 79-60 victory over St. John's on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. St. John's led 33-22 at the half, and the Mountaineers trailed 43-30 more than four minutes into the second period before storming into the lead behind a trapping defense and a barrage of 3-pointers.
Wellington Smith had a putback sandwiched between two 3s to pull West Virginia within 45-40. Then Butler hit four 3-pointers in about 5 minutes as the Mountaineers (19-3, 8-2 BIG EAST) pulled away. West Virginia has now won 10 straight against the Red Storm (12-10, 2-8 BIG EAST).
"We did a good job in the first half; did not do as well in the second half obviously. We didn't guard them and a great player in our league [Butler] really got hot," said STJ head coach Norm Roberts. "He got really hot and made some big shots that he wasn't making in the first half. But we didn't do a good job of piggy-backing screens and staying on him throughout the whole second half. And they beat us on the glass a little bit too."
Juniors Paris Horne and Justin Burrell led St. John's with 12 points each. Burrell, who also added eight boards, had collected 10 points and seven boards in the first stanza, while Horne piled up 10 of his 12 in the game's final 20 minutes.
West Virginia hit three of its first seven shots to take a 10-4 lead. The Mountaineers were 4-of-22 the rest of the half, scoring just nine points over a stretch of nearly 16 minutes. The St. John's defense had a lot to do with it, forcing seven turnovers and blocking three shots as the Red Storm took a 33-19 lead into the final minute of the half. St. John's, which went 1-of-8 (12.5 percent) from the field to open the game, finished the first stanza by firing at a 12-for-24 clip (50.0 percent) the rest of the way.
With WVU down 14 points just before the break, Butler was fouled on a 3-point attempt, and he hit all three foul shots to pull the Mountaineers within 33-22 at intermission. The 22 points were still the fewest West Virginia scored in a first half this season, and STJ held a 25-22 rebounding advantage over the nation's 14th-best rebounding team (second in the conference).
Anthony Mason Jr., who started his fourth contest in his seventh game back with the Red Storm and finished with nine points, hit a jumper to give St. John's the 13-point lead early in the second half. One possession later, he went to the locker room with a dislocated right middle finger. By the time he returned with 10:55 left, the Mountaineers were within 45-43.
STJ is back at MSG Thursday for a nationally-televised ESPN2 matchup vs. Louisville in the 1985 Final Four Anniversary game.