A freshman earns honors as West Virginia rips Ohio State to snap the No. 15 Buckeyes national-best 14-game win streak.
The Mountaineers, who outscored OSU 41-20 in the second half for a 76-48 shellacking, were so dominant on each end and to a man that the player of the game could have been any starter. Da'Sean Butler likely played the finest all-around game, but was out of the lineup when WVU (10-2) made its game-sealing run. Truck Bryant handled the point well, but had turnover issues at times. Alex Ruoff shot well when it was most needed, and handled the ball intelligently inside four minutes as head coach Bob Huggins burned clock. Devin Ebanks had flashy finishes, and his ball handling and shutdown of Dallas Lauderdale and Jon Diebler were impressive.
The nod goes to Bryant, simply because he held the game together when Ruoff was limited at the end of the first half and Butler was out for much of the second. The freshman point guard didn't do anything spectacularly, but he was the glue for West Virginia in a game in which it was needed. He defended well, got to the rim and finished and created drive-and-kick chances within the motion offense. Bryant finished with 11 points, three rebounds and two assists, but it was his outside-the-stats play that garners the award.
A close second was Ebanks. Ohio State (9-1) failed to do anything in the post and never could piece together an inside-out attack. The frosh's excellent play allowed Butler and Ruoff to put a stranglehold on their match-ups and not worry about getting driven past. Ebanks had10 points on five of seven shooting, but gets a mention more for his defense.
Ruoff gets a mention for his solid shooting and suprising drives. The senior tallied a team-best 17 points, but didn't have a particularly great shooting day. Ruoff made six of 15, but his just 25 percent of his eight three-pointers. He added four boards and three assists, and his ability to be clutch is a major reason WVU cruised past Ohio State.
It seems that no player of the game is complete without Butler. He scored 16 points on five of 10 shooting, finished around the rim, made shots from outside and generally caused OSU head coach Thad Matta major headaches. Butler, however, was not on the floor when the Mountaineers put the game away with 10 minutes still remaining. But his play and stats lines are simply too good game in and out to ignore.