for this game

West Virginia hands Ohio State first loss

Dec 28, 2008 - 12:33 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Coming off a career-best performance, Alex Ruoff wasn't as prolific Saturday. West Virginia didn't need him to be.

Ruoff scored 17 points as the Mountaineers snapped No. 13 Ohio State's 14-game winning streak with an easy 76-48 victory.

Da'Sean Butler scored 16 points for West Virginia (10-2), which earned a signature non-conference win before they open Big East Conference play at Seton Hall on January 3.

"We needed to play hard against a very good basketball team today," Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins said. "I have wonderful kids that play hard. I wish they would grow to be 6-10, but these kids do what they need to do to win games."

The Buckeyes had the nation's longest streak, which dated to last season's National Invitation Tournament.

Ruoff, who nailed nine 3-pointers en route a career-high 38 points in Tuesday's win over Radford, shot 6-of-15, including 2-of-8 from the arc in this one.

The win added to a positive day for West Virginia, which saw its football team post a dramatic 31-30 victory over North Carolina in Saturday's Meineke Car Care Bowl.

On the hardwood, the Mountaineers took a seven-point lead at halftime but engineered a second-half onslaught by outscoring the Buckeyes, 41-20, in the final 20 minutes.

"This is pretty much what we've been doing all year," Huggins said of his team's play in the second half. "We are plus-10 in rebounding, but that may be misleading with the competition we've faced.

"Our guys have really bought into the system and really attacked the rim today."

William Buford and Jeremie Simmons scored 11 points apiece for Ohio State (9-1), which takes on Iowa in its Big Ten conference opener Wednesday.

"We have three days to get ready for Big Ten play and we need to be ready to beat Iowa," Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. "We have to get better."

The Buckeyes had a poor shooting performance, hitting just 31 percent (18-of-58) of their shots from the field, including 2-of-18 on 3-pointers.

"I didn't do anything different," said Ohio State swingman Evan Turner, who shot 4-of-17 from the field. "My shots just didn't fall. It happens to all of us."

The Buckeyes also played their third straight game without junior swingman David Lighty, who is expected to miss six to 12 weeks after breaking a bone in his left foot on December 17.