November 27, 2009

Upset bid in Anaheim falls short

ANAHEIM, Calif. - West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said Thursday that he would consider playing sophomore Devin Ebanks, who hadn't played yet this season because of "personal reasons," if the Mountaineers found themselves in a close game. Against Texas A&M Friday it took four minutes and 14 seconds before Ebanks made his sophomore debut.

Ebanks' inclusion didn't open up the game any even with his 14 points and eight rebounds, but the 6-foot-9, 215-pounder certainly ended any hopes of the Aggies (4-1) taking their second win from a ranked opponent in as many nights.

Ebanks pick-pocketed A&M guard Donald Sloan at the half-court with just over a minute remaining and took it the other way for a thunderous dunk in which A&M forward Bryan Davis tried to foul but instead gave Ebanks a three-point play. With the Aggies still in the game facing a five-point deficit with 14 seconds remaining, Ebanks stole it from Sloan again at the same spot and buried two free throws to ice No. 8 West Virginia's 73-66 win.

"Basically I just timed it," Ebanks said. "I'd seen him try the crossover to his left, so when I saw him take that second bounce I just timed it and thank God they didn't call a foul."

But Ebanks wasn't the only Mountaineer to take a starring role. Senior forward Da'Sean Butler shook off a rough first half in which the West Virginia (4-0) leading scorer had just two points and shot 1-4 from the floor.

In the second half, however, Butler found his rhythm and pouring in 15 points, shooting 4-7 in the half including 2-5 from behind the 3-point arc. Butler finished with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists.

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