West Virginia Defeats Missouri, Rides Da'Sean Butler To Sweet 16

Daniel KablackCorrespondent IIIMarch 21, 2010

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 21:  Da'Sean Butler #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers shouts to a teammate against the Missouri Tigers during the second round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at HSBC Arena at HSBC Arena on March 21, 2010 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

West Virginia's star guard, Da'Sean Butler, scored 28 points in a 68-59 win over the Missouri Tigers in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday to advance the Mountaineers to the Sweet 16.

The Missouri Tigers struggled offensively and looked nothing like the team that beat Clemson in the first round.

Top Tigers players, Keith Ramsey and Kim English, both scored 20 points against Clemson in the first round game held a few days ago, but were outmatched by a more athletic Mountaineers defense.

Tigers' players had trouble with the Mountaineers, who played a scrappy game, not giving Missouri many chances at fast-break points.

Free throw shooting was a major factor, as Missouri barely converted 60 percent of their free throw attempts.

On the other hand, West Virginia showed poise throughout the game, converting 76 percent of their free throw shots.

The Mountaineers' ball handling was superb throughout the first-half, giving up only one point on three turnovers against a Missouri team who prides itself on playing end-to-end defense.

That defense showed up near the latter parts of the second-half.

It was a rough game with both defenses playing extremely well in the second half.

West Virginia went almost 13 (a span from the first to second half) without a field goal.

They kept the lead by playing aggressive and getting to the free throw line.

The Tigers induced multiple turnovers to help draw the game within four-points with about two minutes remaining.

But the Mountaineers wouldn't be denied a chance at getting to the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in the last six years.

A series of aggressive plays by the talented West Virginia starters, all of which are from metropolitan New York, turned the last couple minutes into a free throw clinic and sealed the game for Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers.

West Virginia will play in the round of sixteen against eleventh-seeded Washington on Thursday at 7:27 PM ET on CBS followed by the other East region semi-final game #1 seed Kentucky vs #12 seed Cornell at 9:57 PM EST.


Game Notes:

Da'Sean Butler scored a tournament high 28 points, with eight rebounds and two steals. His 19 points in the first half helped the Mountaineers hold the lead throughout the game.

Missouri freshman guard Michael Dixon came in off the bench and led the team with 15 points. Guards J.T. Tiller, Zaire Taylor, and Kim English scored 13, 10, and 10 points respectively.

Forward Laurence Bowers recorded six points, nine rebounds, and four blocks. Keith Ramsey who scored 20 in the win against Clemson, recorded just five points.

Mountaineers forward Kevin Jones scored 13 points and recorded nine rebounds. Devin Ebanks dropped 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.