Two years ago, Frank Young had his coming out party in the Big East Tournament. On Wednesday night, Young led a youthful Mountaineer team into the World's Most Famous Arena and got yet another big win for the Blue and Gold.
The senior forward tied for team-high scoring honors with 21 points. From behind the three-point arc, Young was absolutely lethal as he connected on five of six from downtown while making 7-11 overall from the field. Frank filled out his stat line with six rebounds, five assists, a block, and a steal. Oh, by the way, he did it while being saddled with foul trouble for most of the night.
Young's five 3's were part of West Virginia's Big East Tournament record 17 trifectas.
With Young and freshman forward Da'Sean Butler both battling fouls all night, freshman forward Wellington Smith was called into action. Taking a page out of Frank's book, Smith earned his stripes by scoring 10 points in 10 minutes of play. The freshman from Summit, N.J. connected on three of his four field goal attempts, and was a perfect three-for-three from the foul line.
Smith's three-pointer with 1:27 remaining put West Virginia up by 13, and sealed the fate of the men in black.
Sophomore guard Alex Ruoff had his second consecutive strong outing, tying Young's team-high with 21 points. In the first half, Ruoff was hot and cold, but his three-pointer in the final seconds of the first frame seemed to give both himself and the team a huge lift heading into the locker room. In the second half, Alex drilled three of his four shots from downtown to pick up the scoring slack with Young on the bench. Ruoff also dished out five dimes, collected a pair of steals, and blocked two shots.
Point guard Darris Nichols had a very quiet 16 points. The veteran floor general joined Ruoff and Young as one of three Mountaineers who made at least four 3's. Against constant Providence pressure, Nichols calmly ran West Virginia's read-and-react offense just about as well as it can be run. The Radford, Va. native finished with eight assists and not a single turnover while playing a team-high 38 minutes.
The outstanding performances in West Virginia's first round game in the Big East basketball tournament
The outstanding performances from WVU's first round game in the Big East tournament