WVU basketball: Mountaineers bow out to Villanova

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 23: Jalen Brunson
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 23: Jalen Brunson /

The WVU basketball team had the rug swept out from under it against Villanova in the Sweet 16.

The Wildcats earned a 90-78 win against the Mountaineers in Boston. It was a great fight for much of the game, but the hot shooting of the Wildcats and the rough calls from the referees disrupted the flow of the WVU basketball team.

The Mountaineers played well enough to win, but a lot of momentum was taken away from the Mountaineers in the second half. West Virginia had a six-point lead midway through the second half, but it was quickly taken away as the Wildcats converted six foul shots to make up that difference.

For West Virginia, Daxter Miles scored 16 points in his final game. He had to sit the bench for much of the second half and eventually fouled out with under two minutes remaining. Fellow senior Jevon Carter scored 12 points and didn’t quit until the final whistle.

Carter had four steals and eight assists to wrap up one of the finest careers in WVU basketball history. Carter and Miles helped the Mountaineers advance to the Sweet 16 three times. They leave the program in good hands but it won’t seem the same moving forward without them.

Also for West Virginia, Esa Ahmad had 11 points, Sagaba Konate had 12 points and Teddy Allen came off the bench to score 10 points. For Villanova, four of the five starters reached double figures. Jalen Brunson led the way with 27 points.

The Wildcats shot 50 percent from the floor and 54 percent from behind-the-arc. West Virginia, meanwhile, was 38 percent from the floor and 25 percent on 3-point attempts. That really was the difference. Villanova is the more offensive minded team and the Mountaineers are clearly more defensive.

If defense wins championships, that’s not the case in college basketball. WVU basketball was penalized for playing aggressive defense and it really isn’t fair. The Mountaineers were whistled for 28 fouls and Villanova committed 20. The Wildcats shot 27 foul shots and made 85 percent of them.

Next: All-time WVU basketball team

Still, it was another fine season for the WVU basketball team. Bob Huggins is a great coach and will continue to make West Virginia proud.