Just a few days after one of the worst losses of the season at Villanova, the Mountaineers bounced back nicely with a complete effort en route to completing a sweep of Big East bottom feeder Providence.
Setting the tone for West Virginia was junior guard Alex Ruoff, who finished with 14 points, three assists, two blocks, two steals and three rebounds in 35 minutes of play.
While Ruoff's stat line was certainly impressive, the parts of his game that didn't show up in the box score were perhaps even more vital to West Virginia's winning effort. Ruoff may have had his best defensive game of the season in terms of guarding the ball. Entering the game, Providence was tied for the conference lead in season three-point attempts with 543. The Mountaineers held the Friars to just 11 shots from downtown, and Ruoff's defense was a big reason why.
Offensively, the Spring Hill, Fla. native may not have had his most efficient shooting night, but set the table for his teammates by driving aggressively to the rim, which opened up scoring opportunities for the likes of Joe Alexander and Da'Sean Butler.
Speaking of Alexander, the junior forward had one of his best Big East outings of the year. Alexander tallied a game-high 21 points on 8-13 shooting, and also grabbed seven rebounds. In two meetings with the Friars this season, Alexander has scored 40 total points.
Sophomore Wellington Smith continued his recent stellar play with 10 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. However, Smith could have had an even better game had he not been saddled with foul trouble for much of the night. Smith played just 17 minutes, picking up four personal fouls during his abbreviated time.
While the Mountaineers won't be confused for the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers anytime soon, Saturday's second half was one of the most impressive time frames of the season for West Virginia. The Blue and Gold scored 47 points in the latter 20 minutes, getting a good up and down pace for much of that time which resulted in easy looks from all over the court. The Mountaineers also scored 27 points off of 21 PC turnovers, and held a decisive 28-6 advantage in bench scoring.