West Virginia's upset win over UCLA will be a lasting memory for Mountaineer fans, players, and coaches. Perhaps no player will remember this game better than our player of the game.
Walk-on guard Ted Talkington has seen his minutes increase with recent injuries to freshmen guards Devan Bawinkel and Joe Mazzulla. On Saturday afternoon, Talkington made his four minutes of playing time count.
The New Martinsville, W.Va. native finisehd the game with five points on 2-4 shooting, including 1-2 from downtown. His second three-point attempt was thisclose to falling through the hoop. Talkington's basket at the 14:15 mark of the second half put gave the Mountaineers their largest lead of the game at 47-28.
Talkington's first three-point shot hit nothing but the bottom of the net, and sent an already lively Coliseum into a state of nirvana.
"As thrilling as the win is, when you're a former walk-on and you see Ted Talkington get a shot like that to give us the momentum...that's what you coach for," said head coach John Beilein afterward. "That's what you coach to have: kids who are giving everything that they have and end up living a dream out there.
"(Reserve point guard) Joe Mazzulla is getting healthier – and he actually could have played – but (Talkington) has just worked so hard. It was the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do today to put him in that lineup. That's all it is. The kid works hard everyday."
Talkington's hard work paid off, as his five points provided the final margin of victory for West Virginia.
The first net burner must go to Alex Ruoff. The sophomore guard from Spring Hill, Fla. was West Virginia's answer to every UCLA run on the afternoon. Ruoff finished with a team-high 18 points, and added four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a blocked shot to fill out his stat line.
Freshman Da'Sean Butler continues to play like anything but a first year player. Butler ignited West Virginia's run to close the first half, and finished the game with 14 points and seven rebounds. He also had a big-time three point play down the stretch to answer a 6-0 run by the Bruins.
Finally, the Mountaineers came into the game needing to take care of the ball against what is widely regarded as one of the nation's toughest defensive teams. West Virginia did exactly that, turning the ball over just nine times while forcing 15 Bruin miscues. The Blue and Gold also had 18 assists on their 25 made field goals.