Bouncing Back

Devin Ebanks is back, just in time for West Virginia's Jan. 16 meeting with Syracuse.

Ebanks was benched for all but three minutes of the second half against Notre Dame, a game in which he finished scoreless. His defense was lacking and, obviously, he could find no way to be part of the offense.

It wasn't much better in the first half against South Florida on Jan. 13, his only two points of the first half coming on two free throws just before halftime.

Coach Bob Huggins had to do something to get him going and did in the second half as Ebanks scored 15 of his game-leading 17 points.

"Devin's not the kind of guy who is going to let something like (his performance at Notre Dame) get to him," Da'Sean Butler, who overcame his own early shooting woes to finish with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals, told The Charleston Gazette. "He came right back and played like he can."

Huggins said, "I've just been telling Devin to do what you do. He's good at attacking the rim. He's not a 3-point shooter. He went back to playing the way he played the second half of last year."

With a battle of top-10 teams coming up in the Coliseum, WVU has to get everyone at the top of its game.


  • WVU plans to retire all-time great Rod Hundley's No. 33 uniform number before the Ohio State game on Jan. 23. Only Jerry West's No. 44 jersey has been retired by the school in basketball. Hundley was the clown prince of basketball in the mid-1950s. He went on to a long career as an NBA broadcaster, most of it with the Utah Jazz.

  • West Virginia has lost 10 straight games at Notre Dame's Joyce Center, dating to 1996.

  • One reason for this season's loss at Notre Dame? Well, the Irish were 14 of 20 in free throws in the final 11:20, and WVU was 2 for 4 from the free throw line ... for the entire game.

  • West Virginia broke out black uniforms for its home game against Rutgers, and they were an instant hit with the crowd and the players. "I wish we could play in them all the time," F Kevin Jones said.


    WVU's top player, F Da'Sean Butler, finds himself in something of a scoring funk. "We've got to get him out of it," said Coach Bob Huggins.

    Butler made only four of 20 shots at Notre Dame, then followed with a 6-for-13 shooting game against South Florida that sounds better than it looked -- he missed a lot of makeable shots early.

    "I think he's tired," Huggins said of Butler, who plays 36 minutes every game and is the kind of player Huggins can't slow down in practice.


    "We lose by 20 or we lose by two, what's the difference? At the end of the day you don't win championships and you don't hang banners by losing. That's the bottom line." -- Coach Bob Huggins, after his team overcame a 21-point deficit but lost by two at Notre Dame.


    SEASON RECAP: West Virginia has not played as well as coach Bob Huggins would have liked, losing twice on the road, at Purdue and at Notre Dame, and going to overtime against Seton Hall and edging Marquette by a point in a five-game span. The biggest problem has been the defense, which has not been as smothering as Huggins would like ... and F Devin Ebanks has not advanced over his play from a year ago.


    Purdue 77, West Virginia 62
    West Virginia 86, Rutgers 52
    Notre Dame 70, West Virginia 68
    West Virginia 69, South Florida 50

    vs. Syracuse, Saturday, Jan. 16
    vs. Marshall at Charleston, Wednesday, Jan. 20
    vs. Ohio State, Tuesday, Jan. 23
    at DePaul, Saturday, Jan. 26

    IN FOCUS: West Virginia has to find a way to get back on the winning track after two terrible road performances at Purdue and Notre Dame. The best place to do that, of course, is at home, but they bite off one of those Big East toughies in their next home game, entertaining Syracuse on Saturday. The way WVU plays defense against this high-flying, high-scoring group before a sold-out home crowd will dictate the way the game will go.

    ROSTER REPORT: With junior college national Player of the Year Casey Mitchell having big problems off the bench, freshman Dalton Pepper is getting more time and performing well. He has been more aggressive and has averaged 12 minutes of playing time per game over the last four games.

  • BlueGoldNews Top Stories