Frozen Out

West Virginia's cold shooting from the field spelled doom for the Mountaineers against Villanova on Saturday.

West Virginia was a chilly 40.7% from the field, and an even worse 30.8% from three-point range as they dropped a 73-58 decision to the homestanding Villanova Wildcats on Saturday.

Villanova, on the other hand, was quite toasty, shooting 50.9% from the floor as they moved out to a double-digit lead in the first half and maintained control of the game throughout.

"For the first ten minutes, I thought we played reasonably well," head coach John Beilein said. " But Villanova is the kind of team that if they make a couple shots and you miss a couple, watch out. They are a three-point team."

In some ways, the game was a reverse of Wedensday's win over St. John's, when the Mountaineers got a lead and repelled several Red Storm rallies. This time, it was Villanova with the lead and shunting WVU uprisings with critical shots, many times of the three-point variety.

After trailing by double digits for most of the second half, West Virginia (11-7, 3-4) made their best run to cut the margin to six points at 52-46 with 9:06 to play. True to form, however, Villanova responded with another three-pointer, this time from Allan Ray, to push the lead back to nine.

A sign that it probably wasn't going to be WVU's day came with 6:11 to go, right after a Kevin Pittsnogle three-pointer cut the lead to eight. Will Sheridan, who averages just 4.5 points per game and hadn't attempted a three-point shot all year, threw a lob pass to a teammate under the basket that hit off the backboard, bounded off the rim, flipped up, then fell through for a garbage basket that pushed the lead back to 11. Adding insult to injury, Sheridan acted like it was a shot rather than a pass as he headed back down the court.

The Wildcats (12-7, 4-3) did a good job attacking WVU's 1-3-1 zone with passes directly from the top of the key to the baseline, and got several easy baskets from that tactic. Villanova also got a number of uncontested three-point attempts against WVU's extended zone, and hit nine of them, many in crucial situations.

Tyrone Sally led WVU with 13 quiet points. Patrick Beilein added 11, and Fischer 10. Jarmon Durisseau-Collins, Belein, Kevin Pittsnogle and Tyler Relph combined to shoot 8-27 from the field, including 6-12 from beyond the arc.

Allan Ray led five Wildats in double figures, scoring 20 points on a variety of medium and long range jumpers. WVU actually grabbed one more offensive board than the Wildcats (9-8) but lost the rebounding battle 32-25.

Evne with the disappointing loss, the 1-1 road trip was not a disaster for the Mountaineers, who now return home to face Seton Hall on Wednesday.


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