West Virginia Stones Slippery Rock

West Virginia might have found its sixth-man. A game after it scored just 50 points, the Mountaineers exploded for almost double that in its 87-37 win over Slippery Rock on Tuesday.

For the second consecutive game, freshman Da'Sean Butler sparked WVU off the bench. He scored a game-high 15 points and Joe Alexander and Devan Bawinkel added 14 and 13, respectively, as the Mountaineers matched their largest win under fifth-year coach John Beilein. It was the largest WVU win overall since a 125-64 victory over St. Bonaventure here on Jan. 3, 1991.

Butler, who scored 11 points in the opener, hit the first two shots of the game after his entrance during the first official timeout. The forward followed his run-out dunk off a steal with a backdoor lay-up that gave WVU the lead for good at 12-11 with 13:57 left in the first half. That followed a competitive initial six minutes that had eight lead changes.

"I really like him coming off the bench for us," West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "He just comes in and we let him go because he does so many good things. He got the steals and rebounds and he is a good shooter. I think people are going to enjoy him a lot."

The Mountaineers (2-0) then hit three consecutive 3-pointers over the next three minutes, part of 13-0 run that put WVU ahead 23-11 with 7:51 remaining in the first half. Butler, who also had nine rebounds, scored seven of those points, including a fast break lay-up off a behind-the-back pass from Alexander that finished the run.

Beilein's son, Patrick, was West Virginia's sixth-man for the last four years, when WVU made consecutive NCAA runs into the round of 16 or better for the first time since the Jerry West era. Patrick Beilein finished second in career 3-pointers made at West Virginia, but lacked the explosiveness and raw physical ability of Butler.

"He knows we have a very talented and athletic team this year," Butler said of John Beilein. "It's a different team from last year. We do things off the dribble."

Slippery Rock didn't do much of anything after leading 11-10 with 14 minutes left in the first half. It went cold from the field, missing six shots and committing five turnovers during a six-minute draught before Brandon Thompson finally broke the scoreless streak with an inside basket.

It was the only field goal for SRU in an 11:57 stretch. WVU, which shot 45.5 percent from the field in the first half, scored 26 of the last 36 points to take a 36-21 lead at the break.

The Mountaineers started the second half hitting three 3-pointers on their first four shots, including one from Frank Young, the lone returning starter off WVU's Sweet 16 team last season. Young was held scoreless in the opener and finally hit his first 3-pointer of the season for a 44-21 lead during the push. Alexander chased that with another to make it 47-21 with 16:44 left in the game.

"I think everyone made a big improvement and it was a relief (to score)," Young said. "I tried not to have a big smile but I couldn't help it. I got the monkey off my back."

Slippery Rock, which failed to score in the first 7:37 of the second half, trailed 55-23 when it finally did on Glenn Reepmeyer's bucket. The biggest lead was the final score. West Virginia hit 14 3-pointers, 10 in the second half. It was the fewest points allowed by WVU since an 83-33 win over Division II Washington and Jefferson last season.

SRU was led by Reepmeyer's 12 points. It had 25 turnovers and shot just 33.3 percent from the field for the game, including one-of-10 from behind the arc. West Virginia, conversely, made 10-of-18 3-pointers in the second half. Alexander went three-of-three, as did Bawinkel. In all, WVU's freshmen went 16-for-28 from the field for a 57.1 percent clip.

"We're good shooters," Alexander said. "We just had an off night the last game. We showed some depth with De'Sean. We didn't get sloppy."

The game was considered part of the regular season for West Virginia. Under a new NCAA rule, Division II SRU (0-0) was able to use the game as its second of two allowed exhibition games. It played the first against Division I Cleveland State. Fellow Big East member Villanova played a similar game at Northwood University (Fla.) on Nov. 10 in the first intercollegiate game for the Seahawks.

"You see more and more teams doing that now," Beilein said. "Playing a Division II team keeps the guaranteed money at a reasonable rate and Division II teams do not count against your RPI."

Center Jamie Smalligan, who scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds, was injured going for a rebound with 5:28 left in the game. He grabbed his right ankle, but walked off the floor. The initial diagnosis was a sprain. Smalligan had the ankle wrapped tight and should be fine for the game against Canisius.


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