Commentary

Instant Analysis: Raymond's 3s bury WVU

Originally Published: March 27, 2008
By Dana O'Neil | ESPN.com

Editor's note: ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil provides instant analysis from No. 3 seed Xavier's 79-75 overtime win over West Virginia.

Game analysis


TURNING POINT: After draining six of its first eight 3-pointers to open the game, Xavier missed six of its next seven before Drew Lavender and B.J. Raymond went back-to-back-to-back from long distance. Lavender's trey, his first points since the first half, tied the game at 72 with 2:03 left in regulation. Raymond, scoreless in the first half, gave Xavier its first lead of overtime. And then the dagger. With just two seconds left on the shot clock, Raymond swished one from the far side of the inbounds to put Xavier up by four with 24.3 left in overtime.

TURNING POINT II: Just 30 seconds into overtime, Joe Alexander was whistled for his fifth foul (called late, it should be noted), leaving West Virginia without its best player. Alexander finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

TURNING POINT III: With 14.2 seconds left in regulation, Alexander hit a bank shot jumper, knotting the score at 64. Lavender's floater missed at the buzzer, forcing overtime.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Raymond. Scoreless for the first half, Raymond nailed back-to-back dagger 3-pointers in overtime.

PLAYER OF THE GAME II: Josh Duncan scored a career-high 26 points, playing the final 12:31 of regulation and all of overtime with four fouls.

STAT OF THE GAME: Unable to buy a bucket in the early part of the first half, the Mountaineers clearly liked the change of ends. West Virginia hit 13 of its first 18 second-half field goals, erasing Xavier's seven-point halftime lead and turning this game into an impossible-to-predict photo finish.

WHAT IT MEANS: Xavier advances to the Elite Eight for the second time since 2004. The Musketeers have never reached the Final Four.

HOT START: Clearly Xavier coach Sean Miller saw the Duke game. In the second round, West Virginia missed its first six 3-pointers and trailed by five at the break before winning. Against Xavier, the Mountaineers were 0-for-6 from the arc and down seven at the half. So when WVU opened the second half with an easy four-point run to close the gap to three, Miller didn't waste any time. Just 1:08 into the half, he signaled for a timeout.

BIG THREE: It took West Virginia 25:14 to sink its first 3-pointer. Good timing. Da'Sean Butler's trey closed what had been as large as a 14-point gap to one, 41-40.

JUST WONDERING: Do Bob Huggins and assistant coach Billy Hahn have closets full of black suits, blue T-shirts, black pants and black turtlenecks, or do they have a really great dry cleaning service?

First-half analysis: Xavier 32, West Virginia 25


TURNING POINT: Down by as many as 16, West Virginia used a mini 10-2 run late in the half to make what appeared to be headed to rout city into a game.

PLAYER OF THE HALF: Drew Lavender. His ankle is fine, thank you very much. The Xavier point guard pushed tempo and directed the Musketeers' balanced offense, dishing out four first-half assists and scoring six points.

PLAYER OF THE HALF II: Wellington Smith. Were it not for Smith, West Virginia wouldn't be in this game. The sophomore scored eight points during that critical run that all but resuscitated the Mountaineers' Elite Eight hopes.

STAT OF THE HALF: West Virginia missed its first five 3-pointers, and Xavier swished six of its first eight.

STAT OF THE HALF II: Xavier missed its final five treys as West Virginia upped the defensive pressure.

PLAY OF THE HALF: For sheer signature "take that," give it to Derrick Brown, whose monster slam ignited the crowd and upped the score to 26-10.

GET OUT THE TRACK SHOES: Bob Huggins may have had the treadmills lined up in the locker room and set at 30 mph after this early-half performance. The Mountaineers looked as out of whack as they have all season, missing shots wildly and committing more unforced errors than a bad tennis match. A typical possession chart for West Virginia: a missed shot off the side of the backboard, a double dribble and a blocked shot.

IN THE HOUSE: Former UCLA coach Jim Harrick, in town to see the Bruins, watched the early action from his perch in the Bruins' section. OK, it doesn't evoke exactly the same warm fuzzies as those shots of John Wooden, but what are you going to do?

Dana O'Neil is a college basketball writer for ESPN.com and can be reached at espnoneil@live.com.

Dana O'Neil | email

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