Forward Da'Sean Butler was something of a default choice for WVU's player of the game in the Mountaineers' 77-62 loss to Purdue.
's scored 17 points, despite a miserable shooting night, and grabbed seven rebounds in the disappointing loss. The All-America candidate made only 5 of 14 shots for the game, although he did make 2-3 from three-point range. He was also a perfect 5-5 at the foul line.
Forced again to handle the ball for much of the game, Butler had two turnovers, but countered those with a pair of assists and a steal. He played all 40 minutes for the Mountaineers, who again started their five-forward lineup.
West Virginia couldn't figure out a way to defend 6-foot-10 forward JuJuan Johnson, who scored a season-high 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Johnson, who entered the game averaging 13.8 points per game, made 8 of 14 shots from the floor, including five slam dunks, and hit 9-11 free throws to lead three Boilermakers who scored in double figures.
"I think our point guards did a better job of guarding him than our big guys did," Huggins said. "He destroyed our bigs. Maybe we should have kept our point guards on him."
West Virginia's turnovers again were a big story in the contest. WVU's miscues resulted in lost possessions, and figured greatly in West Virginia's low shot total. The Mountaineers attempted just 48 shots, while the
Boilermakers squeezed off 56. Purdue also shot 13 more free throws than WVU, and the imbalance in possessions and shots was a key in the outcome of the game.
West Virginia's formerly stifling defense came apart at the seams in Mackey Arena. The Mountaineers allowed Purdue to hit 50% of their shots from the field. WVU managed to force just seven turnovers, and let the Boilers get far too comfortable in their offense. With WVU's guards struggling to limit penetration, and the Mountaineer big men being overwhelmed by Johnson, West Virginia did very little defensive to force Purdue out of its comfort zone. That showed through much of the game, as Purdue as able to get good shots throughout.