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.
ON THE SPOT
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.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"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.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
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
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.