Flowers hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half and had 10 of the Mountaineers' season-low 19 at the break, but that was barely enough to keep them in contact with the Wildcats, who rode a late-half spurt that pushed them out to an 11-point halftime lead. In the second half, Flowers drained another three right off the bat and later scored on a nice bank shot off an in-bound play to cut Nova's lead to three, but that was as close as West Virginia would get.
Although he didn't play with his usual bounce, Flowers did add a pair of blocks to his league-leading average, and made bout of his free throws on an afternoon when his teammates clanked more than Iron Man. He finished the game with 15 in 39 minutes of action. He was also effective defensively, guarding three different Villanova scorers over the course of the contest.
In all, there wasn't much to pick from in selecting a standout performer. Kevin Jones, statistically, had a solid game, but past that it was pretty much a bad game all the way around for the Mountaineers. With little defensive rebounding, characteristic poor shooting (just six field goals in the opening half) and a season-low 50 points, good performances were as rare as snake legs.
The Mountaineers appeared to have overcome that massive drought, and in the second half had cut the lead to five at the 11:29 mark, but then the lid went back on the hoop. West Virginia played the next 5:22 without a point, and by the time Jones scored in the lane to break it up, the Mountaineers trailed by 12. Put them together, and that's a total of 14:46 in which West Virginia scored just two points. Not many teams in the country, no matter how good defensively, are going to overcome such brutal stretches.
To his credit, Mazzulla didn't force up shots or try to make things happen that weren't there. He dished out seven assists and attempted to get the offense running more smoothly, but the simple fact is that West Virginia's offense has become dependent on his drives and scores to generate any sort of rhythm on offense. While WVU did get good shots, its failure to knock them down kept it from mounting any serious challenge for the win.
"Eighth graders shoot the ball better," Huggins remarked with acidity after the game.
West Virginia can overcome less than stellar shooting, but it can't do so when it allows its opponent to shoot so well, and to outrebound it as well.