Senior Chaz Briggs picked up the slack at the center position with 11 points and eight rebounds, Tyrone Sally jumped back into the spotlight with 19 points and six rebounds, and Joe Herber and Josh Yeager both hit momentum swinging three-pointers in the win.
With Kevin Pittsnogle on the bench after a tough start, Briggs stepped into the breach and immediately became a force on the boards. Pittsnogle scored only two points in the game, but Briggs hit three of four shots from the field (which is actually lower than his season shooting percentage), hit five of seven free throws and rejected three shots (including two on a memorable back to back sequence) to pick up the slack.
Yeager scored five points in 27 seconds to give WVU a thirteen point advantage in the first half, and Herber, in addition to his outstanding floor game, hit a big three pointer to squelch a second half Wildcat rally.
"The bench was outstanding," John Beilein said after the contest. "We thought this might be a game where Chaz had a little bit better matchup. He's quick in tight spaces."
The Mountaineers (12-7, 3-4) also cleaned up another trouble spot with their outstanding performance from the free throw line. With Villanova fouling repeated in a desperate attempt to catch up in the game's final minutes, just about every Mountaineer contributed to WVU's 18-20 performance from the line over that stretch.
Schifnio, Sally, Briggs, Yeager, Jarmon Durisseau-Collins and Nick Patella all ripped the cords with free throws in the game's final minute and a half. WVU was an outstanding 35-42 from the line for the game.
The Mountaineers had an uncharacterisitic 21 turnovers in the game, but counterbalanced that by outrebounding Villanova by 34-32. This, after WVU was crushed with a -19 rebounding margin on Wednesday night, is yet another encouraging sign in the progression of this young Mountaineer squad.
The Wildcats shot a cool 41 percent from the field, and compounded their problems by hitting only six of 23 shots from three point range.
West Virginia now gets a week off before facing Syracuse in another big game at the WVU Coliseum next Saturday. Gametime is 4:00 p.m.