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West Virginia’s season ends with a 61-58 loss to Gonzaga in Sweet 16

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Unable to generate a clean look on a final possession, the Mountaineers season will end in the Sweet 16.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional-Gonzaga vs West Virginia Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

A back and forth affair all game saw big shots made by both teams until Gonzaga made its final three point attempt, while West Virginia did not. In the end, Gonzaga will advance to the Elite 8 and in the process, end the season for the Mountaineers.

Gonzaga started the scoring and led for most of the first half. West Virginia was able to keep the game close and slowly chipped away at the Bulldog lead. Eventually, West Virginia would tie the game at 22 on a Tarik Philip free throw with 5:04 left in the first half. The remaining five minutes would play out the way the entire first half did: tough, physical and dirty. Jevon Carter made two free throws with 5 seconds left, allowing West Virginia to tie the game at 30-30 at halftime.

The first half was dirty. The referees called the game tight. This has always gone poorly for West Virginia, but in the first half it was Gonzaga who was hit with foul trouble. There were 28 fouls called in the first half and 16 were against the Bulldogs. The Mountaineers were in the double-bonus with 10 minutes left in the first half.

The second half featured offensive runs by both teams, something that did not happen in the first 20 minutes. First it was the Gonzaga Bulldogs to open up a lead. Lead by Polish big man Przemek Karnowski, the Bulldogs took an eight-point lead early in the second half. It was then that Jevon Carter took over the game.

Jevon Carter scored the next 9 points for the Mountaineers and over 7 minutes, the Mountaineers went on a 15-4 run to take 52-49 lead with under 6 minutes to play.

The Mountaineers clung to a 58-57 lead in the final minute but Jordan Mathews nailed a three-point shot to give the ‘Zags a 60-58 lead. Gonzaga would stretch it to 61-58 on a free throw and West Virginia would own the final possession. Unfortunately, Gonzaga refused to allow him the final shot and Daxter Miles was unable to get a clean look off before the buzzer, ending the Mountaineers season.

Notes:

Jevon Carter led all scorers with 21 points. No other Mountaineer scored more than 9.

Daxter Miles led the team in rebounds with 10. Daxter is listed at 6’-3” and outrebounded Gonzaga big men.

West Virginia’s inability to hit shots doomed it today. The Mountaineers shot 26.7% from the field. The length and height of Gonzaga gave West Virginia fits all night, forcing off-balance and poor shots.

West Virginia finished with 20 offensive rebounds, which led to the Mountaineers taking 16 more shots than the Bulldogs.

Sagaba Kinate had possibly the highlight of the game with his two-handed block. You can hear announcer Chris Webber completely lose his ability to be partial and fully enjoy the game at this point.