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Wildcats Fall To No. 25 Mountaineers In BIG EAST Opener, 67-56

Jan. 3, 2007

Box Score

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -Frank Young was making one shot after another from long range, so his West Virginia teammates just kept feeding him the ball.

Young set career highs with eight 3-pointers and 25 points, helping the No. 25 Mountaineers beat Villanova 67-56 on Wednesday night for their seventh consecutive victory.

Young's eight 3s also were a career high. Joe Alexander scored 16 points and Alex Ruoff added 11 for West Virginia (12-1, 2-0 Big East).

"I was feeling good out there, and I think it got Villanova rattled a little bit," Young said. "My teammates did a good job getting me the ball. They knew I was shooting pretty well."

Young hit four 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes as West Virginia built an 18-8 lead. Villanova cut the deficit to 23-20 with 5 minutes remaining in the first half, but the Mountaineers answered with a 23-4 run.

After shooting 3-of-13 from 3-point range in the first half, Villanova switched up and went inside to Curtis Sumpter in the second half. The Wildcats took advantage of the smaller Mountaineers on offense and held West Virginia to six points in the first 12:12 of the second half, cutting the deficit to 52-42 with 8:21 left.

Sumpter scored on four of the next five Villanova possessions and the Wildcats pulled within five points before Alexander and Young hit consecutive 3-pointers. Darris Nichols added a long jumper to give West Virginia a 63-52 lead with 1:47 to go. All but six of the Mountaineers' 21 second-half points came on 3s.

"It's a great thing for us to learn," West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "We got very tentative. I could tell by the first two passes in the second half. They went back. We didn't want to attack anymore."

Sumpter, the Big East's second-leading scorer, led the Wildcats (10-3, 0-1) with 21 points, 16 in the second half. But he fouled out with 34.7 seconds left. Mike Nardi added 12 points.



Villanova's 56 points were its lowest total this season. The Wildcats came in averaging 81 points per game.

"Defensively, they are just so long and much better than last year," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "They have a young team that can play so cohesively. I was shocked at our offense in the first half."

The Wildcats had 16 turnovers that led to 21 West Virginia points.

For the second straight game, West Virginia handed an opponent its first road loss. The Mountaineers beat Connecticut 81-71 on Saturday.

"We have just played a schedule conducive to winning early. It worked out that way," Beilein said.

Villanova has dropped three straight to West Virginia.

"I don't think we are a bad team. I think we're a really good team that looked bad tonight," Wright said. "The first half told the story. They executed really well. We were just living on the edge there."