The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

December 6, 2006

Young WVU downs N.C. State

CHARLESTON — In a battle of youthful teams, West Virginia coach John Beilein figured whichever team’s young players played better would win Wednesday night’s WVU-N.C. State game at the Charleston Civic Center.

Chalk one up for West Virginia, which saw its young players and its Young player step up in a 71-60 win.

Young, as in sophomores Alex Ruoff and Joe Alexander and freshman De’Sean Butler, who combined for 39 points and nine boards.

And Young, as in grizzled old senior Frank Young, who had 16 points and seven boards in what was an early-season signature win over the Wolfpack of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Mountaineers, keyed by a tenacious defense and lights-out shooting from the three-point arc in the second half (8-of-14), improved to 6-1 on the young season.

“There’s an innate rivalry between the two leagues, regardless,” Beilein said. “It’s all about bragging rights. N.C. State obviously has a great program. It’s good for us, it’s good for the league, but in the big picture, it’s just another game.”

West Virginia led most of the way, but the Wolfpack stayed close, tying it at 28-28 at the break and again at 40 five minutes into the second half.

With the Mountaineers up by two, 53-51, Young stepped up and hit his third three of the second half to extend the lead.

Butler hit a spin move from the foul line in front of Ruoff’s fifth and final three of the game that pushed it to 61-51.

N.C. State (5-2) cut it to eight, but Alexander stepped up with a big shot near the free throw line with 2:01 left, then came up with a steal and a slam seconds later that sent the 9,333 in attendance into a frenzy.

Beilein likened Alexander’s shot from the foul line to the shot Jo Herber hit against Florida in his first season that helped WVU beat the Gators in Charleston.

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