He may not have been a primo recruit when then coach John Beilein plucked him
out of Newark, N.J., but he has been as steady a player as you could ask for,
avoided injury and, at times, has been among the most spectacular ever to play
for the Mountaineers.
When Butler went off for 32 points Feb. 12 in a triple-overtime loss to
Pittsburgh, a disappointing game that ended around midnight, perhaps his
greatest accomplishment was all but lost.
That scoring outburst in a building where he had averaged just seven points a
game for three previous games lifted him into third place all-time scoring at
Ahead of him are two Hall of Fame players -- Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley.
They are the only two WVU players to reach 2,000 points.
Butler jumped to 1,867 points with the 32-point performance at Pitt. He has
six more regular-season games plus the Big East Tournament and NCAA to score 133
points and become the third player ever at WVU to reach 2,000 points.
Butler recently passed Greg Jones and Rod Thorn on the list and roared past
Wil Robinson in his last effort.
Fred Schaus, 84, a former player, coach and athletic director who coached
both Hot Rod Hundley and Jerry West and who coached the Mountaineers to the NCAA
finals in 1958, died on Feb. 11. Schaus also coached the Los Angeles Lakers and
was general manager of the team that included West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt
Chamberlain and won the 1972 NBA championship while winning 33 straight games.
WVU is 16-0 when holding opponents to 69 points or less this season.
F Wellington Smith continued his hot shooting hand against Pitt as he hit
four of eight shots. The senior has been hitting at a 60 percent clip in his
last seven games.
When F Da'Sean Butler scored 32 points against Pitt, it was the fifth time
this season he has scored 26 or more points in a game.
ON THE SPOT: F Kevin Jones got off to a huge start this season. Forced into
the starting lineup when Devin Ebanks missed the season's first three games,
Jones played so well that he remained in the lineup. Jones was a sharpshooter
from the field for much of the early going but over his last four games has
fallen back, hitting only 38 percent. He's also had three straight games scoring
beneath his 14 points-a-game average.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "For us to have this talent we're supposed to have -- we're
supposed to win this game, we're supposed to beat this team by this many points
and that many points or whatever the case is -- well, we have all these great
players and we didn't execute and we didn't finish. That's what's frustrating."
-- WVU star F Da'Sean Butler after his team blew a late lead and lost in three
overtimes to Pitt.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: The Mountaineers climbed as high as No. 4 in the nation and
were looking at a potential No. 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament until
Villanova and Pitt came along sent them spinning into a two-game losing streak.
The Villanova loss came at home and the Pitt loss was disastrous, as the
Mountaineers blew a seven-point lead in the last minute and lost in triple
overtime. Now, rather than fighting for a top seed, the Mountaineers are trying
to gain the double bye in the Big East Tournament. The top four finishers in the league's regular season race earn that reward.
West Virginia 79, St. John's. 60
Villanova 82, West Virginia 75
Pittsburgh 98, West Virginia 95 (3 OT)
at Providence, Wednesday, Feb. 17
vs. Seton Hall, Saturday, Feb. 20
at Connecticut, Monday, Feb. 22
vs. Cincinnati, Saturday, Feb. 27
vs. Georgetown, Monday, March 1
IN FOCUS: A week ago no one could have forecast that the most crucial game in
the season may be the Feb. 17 meeting at Providence, but all of a sudden WVU is
looking at having to dig out of a hole. The Mountaineers not only have lost two
straight, but the loss to Pitt was crushing as they blew the lead in regulation
and went three overtimes before losing. Winning on the road is never easy in the
Big East and having to do it coming off such a hard hit makes it so much more
F Wellington Smith banged up his shin slightly in the triple-overtime loss
to Pitt. Ice was applied after he fouled out but he is expected to be able to
play against Providence.
It appeared as though G Casey Mitchell had earned more playing time when he
scored 12 points in a nine-minute appearance against Villanova but he didn't get
off the bench until the third overtime and played only one minutes against Pitt.