NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Da'Sean Butler scored nine points in a decisive 21-4 second-half spurt that carried West Virginia to a 75-61 victory over New Mexico State in the consolation game of the StubHub! Legends Classic on Saturday.
Joe Alexander led the Mountaineers (3-1) with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Butler, who grew up five minutes from the new Prudential Center in downtown Newark, and Alex Ruoff added 13 apiece, while Darris Nichols had 11.West Virginia's defense limited the Aggies (2-4) to 40 percent shooting from the field and forced 19 turnovers.Jonathan Gibson led New Mexico State with 14 points, but only two came in the second half. Fred Peete added 11 and Hatila Passos had 10 and nine rebounds.Justin Hawkins, the Aggies' second-leading scorer, did not play because of a strained knee.New Mexico State trailed by three at halftime but got going early in the second half. Passos scored inside twice to start and end an 8-0 run that gave the Aggies a 41-37 lead.After that, though, it was all West Virginia, the defending NIT champions who are now coached by Bob Huggins.Butler banked in a short shot, scored on a fastbreak and added a 3-pointer after a backdoor layup by Nichols for a 46-41 lead.Londale Theus hit a layup for the Aggies to cut the lead to three points, but Wellington Smith, another New Jersey product (Summit) dunked on a fastbreak, Butler hit from the baseline and Smith added a free throw for a 51-43 lead.Alexander helped cap the run with a 3-pointer as the shot clock went off and a rebound follow. When Nichols scored the lead was 58-45.The Mountaineers led by as many as 19 points.