West Virginia blasted in Sweet 16, loses to dominant Kentucky


West Virginia was manhandled in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky cruised past the Mountaineers, 78-39.

Kentucky began the game on a hot-streak and never looked back.

Officials got involved early as Devin Williams picked up two fouls was sent to the bench with 18:45 in the first. With West Virginia’s aggressive style of play, the fouls amassed and quickly as Kentucky was already in the bonus with 12:58 left in the first half.

Juwan Staten hit the first shot of the game for the Mountaineers and the only bucket for a long stretch of the game as the Mountaineers started just 1 for 10 from the field.

Mar 26, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers forward BillyDee Williams (21) reacts from the bench during the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats in the semifinals of the midwest regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats got out to a 7-2 lead with Aaron Harrison leading Kentucky with a jumper and 3-pointer.

Head coach Bob Huggins used a few time-outs early in the first minutes of the game in effort to settle his team down and try to amount some sort of play.

Huggins was in search of the perfect lineup to try to slow down the Wildcats. He used all 12 men for the Mountaineers, but no one could matchup with the height and athleticism that Kentucky had.

Kentucky’s size played a huge role as they finished the night with seven blocked shots and 34 points n the paint. Their size also allowed them to break West Virginia’s press with little effort at all.

The first half was all one-sided as Kentucky went into halftime leading 44-18.

Kentucky started on a 10-1 run int he second half and it was a 0-10 start from the field by the Mountaineers with 12:05 minutes left in the second half.

West Virginia would get out scored 34-19 in the second half. The Mountaineers went 13-54 (24 percent) from the floor while Kentucky went 24-50 (48 percent).

Trey Lyles lead the way for the Wildcats with 14 points (4-7 from the field).

In his last game of his college career, Staten led the Mountaineers in scoring with 14 points.

Despite the loss, West Virginia had the odds stacked against them all season. ESPN experts doubted the Mountaineers in the Big 12 and were many projected that West Virginia wouldn’t  even make the NIT tournament.

A trip to the Sweet 16 can hardly be considered a failed season, but surely an upset over No. 1 Kentucky would’ve taken this journey much further.

West Virginia is losing leaders such as Staten and Gary Browne, who helped rebuild the program and help Huggins get back to winning basketball. Things are looking bright for West Virginia, as the young talent will only continue to grow this offseason.