Our picks for outstanding performances in West Virginia's 90-77 win over the Massachusetts Minutemen.
Senior forward Frank Young must literally play each game as if it is his last in a Mountaineer uniform. On Thursday night in Morgantown, Young showed that he's in no hurry to end his collegiate career just yet. The Tallahassee, Fla. native broke one school record and tied another in leading the Mountaineers to victory over old Atlantic 10 foe UMass.
Young scored a WVU-NIT record 31 points, breaking the previous mark of 30 set by Diego McCoy in a 1981 semi-final win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The one they call "Frank the Tank" was very efficient with his shooting, going 11-15 overall and six for eight from behind the three-point arc. The six 3's made by Young give him 101 for the year, which ties the single-season record held by Chris Leonard (1992).
"To his credit, our whole game plan was to try to stop him," said second-year UMass head coach Travis Ford. "And he still gets 30. When another team's game plan is to go out and stop you and you still do it, that's not easy.
"Wow," continued the former Kentucky point guard. "He's one of the best shooters I've seen. Best shooter I've seen this year. I can say that pretty confidently."
Young scored 18 of his game-high 31 in the first half.
Freshman point guard Joe Mazzulla was a key contributor off of the West Virginia bench. Mazzulla scored eight points, and was a perfect six-for-six from the foul line in the second half. In all, the Mountaineer bench scored 23 points on the night as opposed to 14 points from the Minutemen.
Head coach John Beilein was forced to switch up his substitution patterns a bit. Beilein noted that he continually subbed players in and out to disrupt the rhythm of the UMass players, who were going up and down the court at a frantic pace. All eight Mountaineers that saw action on Thursday night played at least 10 minutes.
Finally, a big inflatable thumbs down to the WVU Department of Public Safety and CSC Events Staff. During a first-half media timeout, a handful of beach balls were brought out by the student section. As they caught the ever-dangerous plastic inflatables one by one, they ejected a handful of students whom they had seen hitting the beach balls.
Had the students been throwing things on the court, it's certainly understandable that they would be ejected (rightfully so, in fact). But throwing random kids out for hitting a beach ball? C'mon! It was during a timeout! The objects were nowhere close to the court! Memo to the students: no fun of any kind on Tuesday night, or you WILL be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.