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Huggins gets first Big East win at West Virginia

Jan 7, 2008 - 1:58 AM MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (Ticker) -- Alex Ruoff made sure coach Bob Huggins got his first Big East win at West Virginia.

The junior guard sank four 3-pointers and finished with 19 points as the Mountaineers upset No. 11 Marquette, 79-64, on Sunday in Huggins' first Big East home game at his alma mater.

West Virginia (11-3, 1-1 Big East) entered the contest reeling from back-to-back losses, including a 69-56 setback at Notre Dame on Thursday in its conference opener.

In this one, the Mountaineers led 29-28 at halftime before taking charge in the second half, shooting a blistering 69 percent (15-of-22) from the field as they pulled away late.

"That is a heck of a basketball team and they're extremely well coached," Huggins said of Marquette. "We played the way we're supposed to play today. We played the right way. We shared the ball."

Marquette (11-2, 1-1) took a 43-40 lead five minutes into the second half. West Virginia responded with a 13-5 run over the next six minutes to open a 53-48 lead. Joe Alexander highlighted the run with six points en route to matching Ruoff with 19 points to lead all scorers.

Maurice Acker hit a pair of free throws for the Golden Eagles, but Ruoff responded with a 3-pointer to make it 56-50.

The lead grew to 63-53 after two free throws by West Virginia's Joe Mazzulla.

Marquette countered with two more free throws by Wesley Matthews, but Ruoff knocked down another 3-pointer to give his team a 66-54 cushion with just over three minutes left, and West Virginia led by double figures the rest of the way.

Da'Sean Butler added 13 points for West Virginia as he hit all three of his 3-point attempts. Darris Nichols chipped in 12 points.

For the game, the Mountaineers shot 48 percent (24-of-50) from the floor. They also shot 45 percent (9-of-20) from 3-point range.

West Virginia also finished a 38-26 advantage in rebounding and limited an opponent to less than 65 points for the fourth time in its last six games.

"I thought defensively we got to the ball so much better," Huggins said. "We were able to rebound the ball better."

Marquette was paced by Matthews and Lazar Hayward, who each finished with 13 points. Jerel McNeal and Dominic James had 10 points apiece for the Golden Eagles, who shot 43 percent (23-of-54) from the field.

"We wanted as best we could to take their better players out of the game," Huggins said.

Marquette fell short of earning its first 2-0 Big East start.