Much anticipated non-conference game today here at the Coliseum as WVU will try and make good after getting beat at Purdue 77-62 on New Year’s Day of 2010. Both teams are significantly different as each team has three new starters from that game last year. The Mountaineers are without Da’Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks and Wellington Smith. Purdue lost All-America candidate Robbie Hummel to injury again. Guard Keaton Grant graduated as did point guard Chris Kramer. Lewis Jackson, who didn’t dress for last year’s game because of injury, has taken over at point giving Purdue a different look. Kramer was a great defensive player but no threat to score. Jackson provides that scoring and penetrating ability.
The Mountaineers are playing much better of late. But they have built their three game winning streak against DePaul, a sliding Georgetown team and Providence. Now it is time to see if they can continue their improvement against a top 10 ranked team.
–The Mountaineers turned the ball over 18 times in last year’s loss. That was the main factor that cost them the game. WVU turned the ball over on its first four possessions here early.
–Early defensive assignments: John Flowers on Purdue’s second leading scorer E’Twaun Moore. Deniz Kilicli replaced Danny Jennings early to guard JaJuan Johnson.
–The Mountaineers are staying in the game early with defense. WVU has just two field goals and has turned the ball over six times at the second media time out. But WVU has held Purdue to just 33% shooting. Purdue, in turn, tagged Mitchell early and worked hard to limit his shots with Ryne Smith on defense.
–Purdue lost a key component for a brief period when starting point guard Lewis Jackson went out with a quad injury. Jackson was back in there at the mid way point of the half.
–The Mountaineers survived 13 turnovers in the first half to lead by one at 29-28. WVU averages 12 turnovers per game. WVU did out rebound Purdue 22-13 in the first half as they got seven offensive rebounds. John Flowers had six rebounds in just 11 minutes of play.
–Good sign early in the second half as Mitchell got his first points on WVU’s first possession. Mitchell was scoreless in the first half as he had just two shots in the half.
–JuJuan Johnson has lived up to his advanced billing as he scored 12 in the first half. Johnson then got Purdue’s first points of the second half.
–Purdue’s defensive priority all game has been Mitchell. Terone Johnson has blanketed Mitchell for most of the second half. Credit Cam Thoroughman for making key passes for a pair of clutch three pointers. One by John Flowers from the right corner and the other by Kevin Jones from the left side. The 6-0 run by WVU put the Mountaineers up 52-50 with just over 6:00 to play.
–Mitchell created a nice opportunity off the dribble with a fade-away off the left baseline. Just the second field goal of the game for Mitchell, but it put the Mountaineers back in the lead at 55-52 with the three point play.
–The Mountaineers have had a huge advantage on the glass here on the second half as they are +9. Huge rebound by Kilicli as he went high above the crowd to keep a possession alive with 1:16 to go. Mazzulla would then score on a scoop shot in the lane following a time out to make it 64-60 with under a minute to play.
–Last shot for Purdue. Very smart foul as they sent Mazzulla to the line before WVU could get into its offense. Joe missed the front end. Does Purdue run the clock down and shoot a three for the win? Or go inside to JuJuan Johnson for the tie?
–Moore misses as Purdue, perhaps, shot too quick. Mazzulla with two shots this time as it was the 10th team foul for Purdue. This time, one out of two. Purdue got a good look to tie with Ryne Smith missing the three. Truck this time hit a pair to seal it.
–Mountaineers cleaned up the turnover situation in the second half as they had just four.
–First win ever over Purdue. 6th win for a Huggins coached team over a top 10 ranked opponent. On to Charleston to face Marshall Wednesday.