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Butler's layup gains WVU 1st Big East title

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By Tony Dobies
Sunday, March 14, 2010
 

NEW YORK - Da'Sean Butler said it best following his sixth game-winning shot of the season.

"We're number one, baby," Butler yelled to the packed house at Madison Square Garden.

"Country Roads" poured out the Garden's speakers Saturday night, as West Virginia won its first Big East championship.

Butler scored a contested layup with 4.2 seconds to go, and Georgetown's Chris Wright missed a layup of his own as the Mountaineers defeated the Hoyas, 60-58, in the title game.

"We ran the same play we did against Cincinnati," Butler said of his game-winning shot against the Bearcats on Thursday. "I scooped the layup off the glass, and it fell."

Butler finished with 20 points and six rebounds to lead West Virginia in scoring in each game of the tournament. He was named the tournament MVP. Wright had 20 to lead Georgetown.

"It feels good," Butler said. "We wanted to win this for our state because it definitely means the world to them. That was our main concern, not letting our state down."

The win could help WVU earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

"We're going to enjoy this and get together (today) and watch the selection show and find out who we're going to play," WVU coach Bob Huggins said.

With less than a minute to play, Georgetown's Austin Freeman hit a 3-pointer to tie the score for the first time since the 10:46 mark of the first half.

On the ensuing possession for WVU, Butler missed a 3-pointer, but the rebound was tipped back out to WVU, and Wright inexplicably fouled Joe Mazzulla in the backcourt despite the tie score.

"I made a mistake," Wright said.

Mazzulla hit both free throws to go up 58-56.

Wright drove into the lane and scored a layup over Mazzulla on the other end with 17.4 seconds left to tie the game at 58-58.

West Virginia called a timeout with nine seconds to go that led to Butler's game-winning layup.

The Mountaineers led most of the game after trailing early. WVU had a nine-point lead at one point in the half.

West Virginia struggled with early jitters. The Mountaineers didn't hit their first shot from the field until the 13:57. Prior to Kevin Jones' 3-pointer, Georgetown already built up a 8-1 lead.

In addition, Butler struggled in the early going. He was held scoreless for 8:41 of the first half before scoring his first points on a layup off a pass from Mazzulla.

The Mountaineers climbed back to tie the score at 13-13 after Wellington Smith hit his first 3-pointer of the tournament. They took the lead for the first time after two Mazzulla free throws.

WVU took its largest lead of the half of eight to end a 22-9 run. But before the halftime break, Wright led a Georgetown comeback. He scored a layup-and-one and a dunk-and-one to cut WVU's lead to two.

Smith tipped in a missed shot with three seconds left in the half to give WVU the 32-28 advantage heading into the locker room.

After Truck Bryant struggled for the third straight game, Huggins started Mazzulla in the second half. He led the WVU offense at point guard for the entire second half. He had seven assists and no turnovers.

"Joe brings such enthusiasm and toughness," Huggins said. "He competes so hard."

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