Rutgers vs West Virginia

Time: 07:00 P.M. EST
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West Virginia let an opposing center dominate in its first loss of the season. How it responds will in part be determined by how it fares against a center who has a different kind of impact on the game.

The eighth-ranked Mountaineers seek their first 3-0 Big East start in three seasons when they host NCAA shot blocks leader Hamady Ndiaye and Rutgers on Wednesday night.

West Virginia (11-1, 2-0) had its perfect season end Friday with a 77-62 loss at then-No. 4 Purdue. JaJuan Johnson had no trouble with the Mountaineers' interior defense, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

"I think our point guards did a better job of guarding him than our big guys did," coach Bob Huggins said. "He destroyed our bigs. Maybe we should have kept our point guards on him."

The Mountaineers will next be facing a big man known for his defensive prowess in Ndiaye, whose 5.2 blocks per game lead the nation. Ndiaye, however, is not as prolific a scorer as Johnson, averaging 9.3 points and 5.2 rebounds.

Still, the 6-foot-11 native of Senegal had never averaged more than 5.6 points and 3.0 blocks before his senior season. He seems to be much improved from the player who has totaled 10 points, seven boards and four blocks in three career games against West Virginia.

Ndiaye could make it difficult for Mountaineers leading scorer Da'Sean Butler around the basket. Butler averaged 19.0 points on 59.1 percent shooting in two Big East wins before making 5 of 14 shots for 17 points against Purdue.

"It's very difficult when we're being taken out of our offense, and guys aren't coming to the ball," Butler said. "We were getting taken out of our offense, and we didn't take them out of anything. They just scored whenever they wanted."

West Virginia has won four straight over Rutgers (9-4, 0-1), and this is the last time Butler - a Newark, N.J., native - will face the Scarlet Knights. He's averaging 13.7 points in three meetings.

Butler will likely match up with Rutgers leading scorer Mike Rosario, who is averaging 17.6 points. Rosario, though, was held in check in a 65-58 loss in the conference opener, a 65-58 home loss to Cincinnati on Saturday.

The sophomore guard missed 15 of 19 shots and had 12 points.

"Mike has to score for us and he's going to be the focal point of every defense," coach Fred Hill said. "They did a good job of staying home on him and not letting him get very many good looks."

Ndiaye was hampered by foul trouble and had two rebounds in 28 minutes as Rutgers was outrebounded 40-28.

"It's just something we have got to get better at," Hill said. "It has been our Achilles' heel all year long. I think rebounding was the difference in the game especially in the second half."

Rutgers went 0-8 in Big East road games last season and is 5-25 all-time in Morgantown.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 

Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Purdue14-427-819
Wisconsin12-627-1036
Maryland12-624-934
Minnesota11-724-1020
Michigan10-826-1225
Northwestern10-824-1251
Michigan St.10-820-1550
Iowa10-819-1581
Illinois8-1020-1564
Indiana7-1018-1679
Ohio St.7-1117-1590
Penn St.6-1215-18101
Nebraska6-1212-19108
Rutgers3-1515-18172
Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Villanova15-332-41
Butler12-625-915
Creighton10-825-1026
Seton Hall10-821-1244
Providence10-820-1356
Marquette10-819-1361
Xavier9-924-1437
St. Johns7-1114-19140
Georgetown5-1314-18107
DePaul2-169-23236

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Key Players
Mike<br>Rosario
Mike
Rosario
G, RUT
34.2 Min. Per Game 33.7 Da'Sean<br>Butler
Da'Sean
Butler
F, WV
17.6 Pts. Per Game 16.6
1.9 Ast. Per Game 3.7
4.5 Reb. Per Game 6.1
40.1 Field Goal % 49.3
35.2 Three Point % 38.3
67.2 Free Throw % 81.1
 
 
 
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