Saturday, December 27, 2008
Mountaineer Massacre: West Virginia 76, Ohio State 48
The 13th ranked and undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes, owners of the nation's longest winning streak, found out what pressure defense is all about Saturday afternoon as they suffered a beatdown by the Bob Huggin's coached West Virginia Moutaineers, 76-48.
19,049 fans at The Schott witnessed the Buckeyes jumping to an early 8-3 lead, only to see the Mountaineers score 11-straight points enroute to a 35-28 halftime advantage. The second half was all West Virginia, as the Mountaineers outhustled and outplayed the Buckeyes to the tune of a 41-20 score.
Senior Alex Ruoff (pictured) led the Mountaineers with 17 points and was all over sophomore Jon Diebler, holding him to 5-points. Junior Da'Sean Butler added 16, and was followed by freshman Truck Bryant with 11 and freshman Devin Ebanks with 10. Wellington Smith added 9 and southern Ohio's own Cam Thoroughman pitched in with 6. Thoroughman played well all over the floor, at one point nearly boxing-out OSU's Dallas Lauderdale completely off the floor.
The difference in the game was West Virginia's defensive pressure and Ohio State's lack thereof. The Buckeyes were held to 31% shooting from the floor, 11% from 3-point range. Of course I'm sure that, according to the announcers, they just had an "off night" shooting.
The smaller Mountaineers held a 35-33 rebounding advantage, holding Lauderdale and B.J. Mullens to 10 boards between them.
Ohio State seemed to pack it in around the 12:00 mark, as did their fans and head coach, who rarely got off the bench as time ticked away. With around 5:00 remaining and the OSU crowd heading for the exits, the West Virginia fans took over The Schott with their familiar "G-o-o-o-o-o Mountaineers!" chant.
The win will likely put the 10-2 Mountaineers into the Top 25, while the Buckeyes dropped to 9-1 on the season. The Buckeyes begin Big 10 play at Iowa on 12/31 while West Virginia has a week off before traveling to Seton Hall on 1/3.
You can check out more about the game here.
Note: I just watched my DVR of the game, and my boy Bill Raftery did in fact acknowledge the West Virginia defense and its impact on the game. Good for him.