West Virginia point guard Truck Bryant played a game of and about control as the Mountaineers downed DePaul 62-46.
Bryant, who has struggled at times to stay under control, exhibited everything a coach wants to see in a point guard in the win, and thus takes home our player of the game honors. Bryant penetrated into the lane repeated and made good decisions on almost every foray. He avoided barging into traffic or challenging defenders that he couldn't get shots off against, set up teammates, and got to the free throw line.
Bryant's line demonstrated all of good facets of his game. He got to the free throw line 11 times, making eight, and had five assists against just one turnover. Bryant was one of four Mountaineers that finished with 14 points. He also chipped in two rebounds.
Wellington Smith started off each half with a pair of three pointers early int he action to help the Mountaineers avoid the slow starts that have plagued them in recent weeks. Smith drianed his second three of the first half to stake WVU to a 20-4 lead, and then knocked down a pair of treys to open the second half, which pushed WVU's lead back out to 13. He also avoided the foul trouble that has plagued him for much of his career, finishing with just one. He also added five rebounds while winding up with 14 points as well.
WVU, which usually gets good support off the bench, received just two points from non-starters. Dalton Pepper and John Flowers each made one free throw in the second half to split the scoring contribution from subs. West Virginia's first bench point didn't come until 9:28 remained in the game. West Virginia had four players with 14 points (Bryant, Smith, Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks.
Conversely, much of DePaul's scoring came from its subs. Only two Blue Demon Starters scored (Will Walker with 17 and Krys Faber with two), but five players off the bench got into the act for a total of 27 points.
West Virginia has been able to keep its composure through a number of different situations this year, and that experience may have helped it in a game in which more than a couple of cheap shots were taken. DePaul center Krys Faber was ejected for the most egregious of the acts, an aimed elbow that caught Butler in the side of the head. The replay showed Faber measuring Butler as he moved across the lane, and while intent can't be gauged, officials judged the move a flagrant foul and ejected Faber from the contest.