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Butler's career game carries West Virginia past Villanova

Feb 14, 2009 - 6:25 AM MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (Ticker) -- Da'Sean Butler's red-hot performance helped West Virginia cool off Villanova.

Butler poured in a career-high 43 points as the Mountaineers ended the 13th-ranked Wildcats' six-game winning streak with a 93-72 victory on Friday.

The junior forward, who netted a season-low four in West Virginia's loss to Pittsburgh on Monday, was 12-of-23 from the field, including 6-of-13 from the arc. Butler also made 13-of-15 free throws, recording the third-highest total in WVU Coliseum history.

Butler became the first Mountaineer to score 40 points since Lowes Moore had 40 at Notre Dame on January 25, 1978.

"I have been waiting for it, honestly," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said of Butler's performance. "He does it in practice. He does a great job at reading screens and our guys are getting better at getting him the ball."

West Virginia's defense was sharp early and the Mountaineers used a 13-2 run to take a 17-6 lead with 12:09 left in the first half. Butler scored five points and freshman Darryl Bryant capped the run with a three-point play.

Butler scored eight straight points, which included a pair of 3-pointers as West Virginia pushed the lead up to 27-11 with 8:51 left before the break.

Villanova tried to make a game of it but West Virginia could seemingly do no wrong as Butler finished with 24 first-half points, helping the Mountaineers take a 52-34 bulge at the break. West Virginia shot 59 percent (20-of-34) in the opening 20 minutes.

"We got some easy baskets against their pressure," Huggins said. "I thought we did a real good job in handling their pressure."

The Mountaineers kept the Wildcats at a distance throughout the second half, leading by as much as 73-51 with 9:21 left to play.

Corey Fisher scored four points during a 9-0 run that pulled Villanova within 13 with 6:24 remaining, but that would be as close as the Wildcats would get.

Freshman Devin Ebanks added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Mountaineers, who improved to 3-7 against ranked teams this season.

"This win means that we are 6-6 and play Notre Dame on Wednesday," Huggins said. "I think we have played the hardest league schedule to this point and it doesn't get any easier. I don't know if you watched the Notre Dame-Louisville game (on Thursday). (The Fighting Irish) are playing terrific and we have a monumental struggle on our hands coming on Wednesday."

Corey Fisher scored 17 points and Corey Stokes had 15 for the Wildcats (20-5, 8-4), who were 5-of-18 from the arc.