WVU basketball: Michigan topples WVU, 81-66
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Michigan Coach John Beilein secured the best start of his 35-year coaching career at the expense of his last employer.
The third-ranked Wolverines remained one of the nation's final unbeaten teams with an 81-66 victory against West Virginia in the inaugural Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival Saturday. Trey Burke had 27 points and eight assists and WVU's shockingly hot shooting in the first half cooled considerably in the second half at before 16,514 the Barclays Center.
And then Coach Bob Huggins, who traveled without a starter and essentially benched two others, heated up in his postgame press conference.
"Let me tell you what those moves were from," he said. "I'm sick of it. I'm sick of watching guys stand around and watching guys not compete and watching guys miss shot after shot after shot and never come early, never stay late and don't even think about coming in on an off day. And they're going to tell me they care?"
Michigan is 11-0 for the first time since the 1988-89 season that ended with the school's only national title. Beilein, who coached five seasons at WVU, also one-upped the 10-0 start his Mountaineers had in the 2004-05 season that ended one play short of the Final Four.
The Wolverines figure to be No. 2 in the new poll after No. 1 Indiana's loss to Butler. There are only 10 other unbeaten teams and Michigan has four days off before playing host to Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan to end the calendar year and non-conference play.
WVU has lost seven straight games to ranked opponents and Huggins is 20-38 at his alma mater against top-25 teams. The Mountaineers, who played seven of their first nine games away from home, are 4-5 for the first time since the 1998-99 season. They play four in a row at the Coliseum, beginning with Wednesday's 7 p.m. game against Oakland (3-7).
Beilein, who won 104 games at WVU and led the Mountaineers to the Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen in successive years before winning the 2007 NIT championship, is 2-1 against Huggins. He's also 3-0 against former teams - his WVU teams were 2-0 against Canisus.
Michigan led by 17 early in the first half and gave most of that cushion away before Burke helped assemble an 11-point halftime lead. An 11-4 run to start the second half gave the Wolverines an 18-point lead, the largest of the game, and they'd lead by double figures until WVU rallied.
Juwan Staten's steal at mid-court and dunk made it 69-61 with 5:51 to go and Beilein called a timeout. WVU guarded throughout the shot clock, but Burke whipped a pass inside to Jordan Morgan for a layup. WVU freshman Terry Henderson answered with a 3 on the other end, his third of the game, and barked at Michigan guard Nik Stauskas, who taunted the WVU bench after making a 3 in the first half and earned a technical foul.
WVU's Dominique Rutledge then missed inside, and after WVU stopped Michigan, Gary Browne missed a 3 and Staten missed a long jumper. Stauskas missed a 3 before Staten missed another long jumper and a foul on the rebound gave Stauskas two free throws for a 75-64 lead with 2:39 left to play
"We don't score the last four minutes and we've got a bunch of young guys out there trying to catch up on one possession. We took a couple bad shots," Huggins said. "But we can fix that. And we'll fix that. That's a lot easier to fix than guys standing around watching the ball roll around on the floor while everyone else is diving on it. It upsets my stomach."
Burke was 12-for-16 from the floor and didn't have a turnover. Tim Hardaway, Jr. had 25 points and Stauskas added 10 for the Wolverines, who shot 56 percent in the game.
Henderson led WVU with a career-high 23 points and Staten added 12 and five assists. Freshman Eron Harris had 10 points off the bench.
Starting guard Jabarie hinds had four points in eight minutes and starting forward Deniz Kilicli was scoreless in nine minutes and missed all three shots. That came on the same night WVU played without starting center Aaric Murray, who didn't travel with the team for disciplinary reasons.
"It's going to be about 'we.' It's never going to be about 'me,' " Huggins said. "I've left guys home that were way, way, way better than Aaric Murray. Way better than Aaric Murray, and I've left them home. I've sent a couple guys home when we got there that were way, way, way better than Aaric Murray."
The Mountaineers shot 38.5 percent in the game and 28.6 percent from 3-point range. They missed 26 of their final 34 shots.
That WVU was in the game late in the first half was a not-so-modest accomplishment. Michigan missed its first shot, but made four in a row and Huggins had to burn a timeout before the game was two minutes old. When play resumed, Kilicli missed inside and then left Morgan alone on the baseline for a dunk and a 13-2 lead.
The margin swelled to 17 points when Burke scored in transition after a steal for a 24-7 lead before the Mountaineers had their first rebound of the game. It was WVU's fourth turnover and Michigan's fourth basket off a WVU turnover. The Mountaineers got a spark, though, with their freshman class. Volodymyr Gerun made his college debut and scored the first time he was set up on offense.
Henderson would score twice in a 10-3 run and it was 27-17. Burke's layup made it 30-17, but Harris made a 3 and Henderson had two free throws, a jumper and then a 3 when Staten broke the 1-3-1 one and found Henderson alone on the left side.
The Wolverines were up just 37-32 and when Staten's layup answered one by Glen Robinson III, WVU was shooting 75 percent in the game. Staten's basket with 3:24 to go was the last of the half for WVU, though, and Burke scored twice as part of a 9-3 run to end the half. His layup just before the buzzer made it 43-32. With his eight baskets and five assists, Burke had a hand in 13 of Michigan's 16 baskets.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.