Player of the Game - Providence

Our pick for Player of the Game and other outstanding performances in West Virginia's 77-65 Big East road win at Providence.

Following Wednesday night's putrid 62-39 loss at the hands of Cincinnati, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins noted that he likely should have inserted seldom-used redshirt freshman forward Cam Thoroughman into the game to bring some much-needed toughness to the Mountaineer lineup.

With his team looking similarly flat -- at least on defense -- against Providence Saturday night, Huggins this time opted to throw the youngster into the fire. The move paid off, as Thoroughman's gritty presence seemed to spark his team on a 17-2 run over the final 6:30 of the first half as the Mountaineers righted the ship en route to their fifth Big East win of the season.

Thoroughman bodied up bigger Friars such as Geoff McDermott and Ray Hall on defense, and did a lot of the little things to propel his team to victory. Thoroughman even got into the act on offense, swishing a Larry Bird-esque fadeaway from the foul line against an expiring second half shot clock, and later finding frontcourt mate Joe Alexander with a nifty wraparound pass which led to an emphatic two-handed flush, plus a PC foul.


  • With leading scorer Alex Ruoff saddled by foul trouble and perhaps still feeling the after effects of an early-week illness, backcourt mates Joe Mazzulla and Darris Nichols filled the offensive void left by Ruoff's limited playing time.

    Mazzulla, a Rhode Island native, scored a career-high 11 points in his homecoming. Nichols led all scorers with 23 points on an impressive 7-10 from the field, and added four rebounds and four assists to fill out the stat sheet.

  • Alexander, limited by a groin injury in recent weeks, returned to his early season form. For the first time since injuring the muscle against St. John's back on January 17, Alexander looked to have much of his explosion back as evidenced by the aforementioned dunk off the feed from Thoroughman as well as a first half alley-oop from Nichols. Alexander finished with 19 points and eight rebounds to offset the early frontcourt effort from the Friars.

  • Poor shooting from all over the court has plagued West Virginia in recent weeks. Playing in the cold and empty Dunkin' Donuts Arena, the Mountaineers had no choice but to heat up in hopes of ending a two-game slide.

    West Virginia was an impressive 28-55 from the field overall in the game, and followed up Wednesday's 1-22 performance from downtown with an efficient mark of 7-15. The Mountaineers also look to have at least temporarily solved the recent free throw woes, putting forth a second consecutive solid effort from the charity stripe by going 14-18.

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