Chalk this up as one of those nights when picking a Player of the Game is a necessary evil. On a night in which WVU squandered opportunity after opportunity down the stretch, the truth is that no one in blue put forth the monumental effort from beginning to end that it was going to take to beat the Bearcats on their home court.
By default, freshman forward Devin Ebanks gets the nod tonight for his impressive stat line. Ebanks recorded the third double-double in his last four games, scoring 12 points and pulling down 14 rebounds to lead the Mountaineers. He also dished out four assists against just two turnovers while running WVU's motion offense for much of the second half.
Even with the gaudy stat line, though, Ebanks still had his down moments, most notably a costly turnover down the stretch on a possession that could have allowed West Virginia to pull even or even take the lead.
Such was the case again on Thursday night as WVU shot just 33 percent for the game, including a paltry four-of-21 effort from three-point range. The Bearcats, by comparison, made 47 percent of their shots in the win.
That free throw total included a 5-6 mark on technical foul shots resulting from a lack of poise on the part of several Bearcats (players and coaches alike).
Before they could get there, though, the ball was rifled back out to the perimeter, where more often than not an open Bearcat awaited. While UC made just six-of-20 from three-point range, four of those came in the second half, giving UC just enough to get over the hump for the big win.