West Virginia loses to No. 3 Syracuse 63-61 after a controversial ending to the game
Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 30, 2012 01:01
The West Virginia men's basketball team hung with No. 3 Syracuse Saturday at the Carrier Dome for the entire game, but a controversial call in the closing seconds allowed the Orange to escape with a 63-61 win.
Junior Deniz Kilicli collected an offensive rebound with less than 10 seconds remaining and his putback was blocked on its way down into the basket, but no goaltending call was made.
Syracuse, however, wasn't able to secure the ball, and the Mountaineers had another chance for a basket with six seconds left, but senior Kevin Jones wasn't able to connect on a potential game-winning three-pointer.
"Inexcusable. Our kids played their hearts out," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins on his postgame radio show. "We should be in overtime."
Jones had his seventh consecutive 20-point performance, as he scored 20 and collected eight rebounds. Senior Truck Bryant had 12 points, but still struggled from the field, connecting on just 4-of-11 from the field.
Freshman Gary Browne came off the bench to score 11.
The largest lead for either team in Saturday's game was just six points.
The Mountaineers led for the majority of the first half, grabbing a six-point lead at the 14:56 mark.
But, the Orange finished the first half on an 8-0 run, holding the Mountaineers scoreless for the final three minutes of the first half, to take a 28-24 lead into halftime.
Syracuse opened up its largest lead – 33-27 – at the 18:56 mark of the first half, prompting Huggins to call a timeout.
The Orange were able to maintain a two-possession cushion until Jones and Bryant had back-to-back layups to cut the lead to just one. The two teams traded buckets until Bryant was able to connect on a 3-pointer to tie the game at 41.
The Mountaineers then took a 47-46 lead after a Jones' layup.
Jones again hit another big bucket for West Virginia with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 61 with just under two minutes remaining. But those were the last points the Mountaineers were able to score.
West Virginia outrebounded Syracuse 36-20 – it's the first time since 2006 that a West Virginia team has held an |
opponent to 20 or less rebounds.
Syracuse was led by guard Brandon Triche, who scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor. Kris Joseph scored 13 points and collected seven rebounds.
The Mountaineers committed 17 turnovers to the Orange's six.