Tough Afternoon for Mountaineers at Purdue

By: West Virginia Sports Information
By: West Virginia Sports Information

Morgantown, WV - D.J. Byrd scored 17 points and Rapheal Davis added 16 to lead Purdue to a 79-52 win over West Virginia Saturday afternoon at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.

After leading 7-6 early, the game went south for the Mountaineers quickly. The Boilermakers got three straight baskets from Anthony Johnson and then a bank-shot 3 from Byrd at the top of the key to take an 18-11 lead.

Byrd drilled another 3 and then from there the Boilermakers only poured it on.

After leading 37-23 at halftime, Purdue went on a 15-4 run at the start of the second half to turn the game into a rout. It took West Virginia nearly five minutes to get its first field goal of the second half, and had just four field goals when forward Aaric Murray fouled out with 8:40 remaining in the game.

Purdue, a 29-percent 3-point shooting team, knocked down 8 of 11 from behind the arc and finished the game shooting 29 of 59 overall.

“This is not a great perimeter shooting team we played,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “This is a team who the coaches told me before the game the first team to 50 will win the game and they scored (79) on us.”

Purdue also controlled the glass, 44-34, and had a 17-6 advantage in assists.

West Virginia was 3 of 18 from 3, 17 of 58 overall from the floor and committed 17 turnovers.

“We don’t compete,” said Huggins. “We shot the ball terrible but that should not stop us from guarding. It shouldn’t stop us from rebounding and it sure doesn’t cause you to throw the ball away.”

Eron Harris was the only Mountaineer player to reach double figures, the freshman scoring all 10 of his points in the second half.

Juwan Staten added 8.

The loss puts West Virginia (8-9) under .500 for the first time this late in the season since 2002 when the Mountaineers were 7-8 on Jan. 16, 2002 following a loss at Rutgers. That was Gale Catlett’s final year coaching the Mountaineers.

“That was as listless an effort as anyone could possibly get,” said Huggins. “We do things that are just unexplainable.

“We took bad shots and we turned the ball over – and there was no reason for the turnovers that we made.”

Purdue improves to 10-8.

The 27-point loss was the second worst for the Mountaineers this year. West Virginia dropped an 84-50, season-opening decision at Gonzaga back on Nov. 12.

“I hope people know how sincere I am – I want to apologize,” said Huggins. “I want to apologize to our fans; apologize to the people in the state of West Virginia. This is totally unacceptable. This is not what we’re supposed to represent and hopefully they have enough faith in me that I will fix it.

“I don’t know that I can totally fix it this year, but I will fix it. This is not going to be the norm.”

The Mountaineers will try and regroup next Wednesday night when they play host to TCU at the Coliseum. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m.


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