fINDIANAPOLIS -- Da'Sean Butler didn't want it to end like this - in more ways than one.
Butler's last 8 minutes, 59 seconds of his glorious West Virginia basketball career were spent in the Mountaineer locker room, after he crashed to the Lucas Oil Stadium court grabbing his left knee and writhing in pain.
He never played again in WVU's 78-57 NCAA Final Four semifinal rout by Duke. Butler was carried from the floor after being tended to by medical personnel. His injury received a preliminary diagnosis as a sprain, but he will have an MRI Sunday.
The injury occurred when he drove to the basket, collided with Duke center Brian Zoubek, and picked up an offensive foul - Butler's fourth. The Mountaineer star was trying to get past the 7-foot-1 Blue Devil when the contact occurred.
"There was a little bit of a wet area, and I drove the baseline and Zoubek stepped up, so I tried to hop-step across, but I caught it too hard with my left foot. I slipped a little bit. It buckled as I was trying to go across.
I felt it for a second and it really hurt, and then I just couldn't move it. At that point, I was terrified ... I came in here (the locker room) and tried to move around, but it wasn't good.
"I'd do anything to get the last 14 minutes (of the game) back."
Butler finished with 10 points on only 2-for-8 shooting, and was defended well by Duke's Kyle Singler. Butler finished his career with 2,095 points.
"It was hard to get (Butler) the ball just because they just kept switching and denying the ball," WVU's Wellington Smith said. "That's usually what we're supposed to do. We just didn't do it tonight.
"You know, you try to get into it with a couple drives a couple shots. But, you know, some things happened down low that weren't called. So, you know, but he just didn't get into it because he was getting denied the ball the whole time."
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Butler was announced before the game as the winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Butler was chosen by a vote of Division I coaches, national media and fans. It's given annually to the nation's most outstanding senior student-athlete and highlights community service, excellence in the classroom, outstanding character and competition on the court.
"When you're the third leading scorer anywhere behind Jerry West and 'Hot Rod' Huntley, you've had a heck of a career," Coach Bob Huggins said "And he's done it with class, he's done it with dignity.
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West Virginia point guard Joe Mazzulla had a difficult game physically - and it had nothing to do with his surgically repaired left shoulder that improved greatly in the second half of the season.
Mazzulla received a cut on top of the head in the first 1:06 of the game and had to go to the bench because he was bleeding. He returned a few minutes later.
Then, with 6:56 remaining in the first half, referee Curtis Shaw informed the WVU bench during a timeout that Mazzulla's jersey was torn and the guard needed another one.
While WVU trainer Randy Meador headed to the locker room to find a spare jersey, Shaw told WVU assistant coach Billy Hahn the game couldn't be delayed for the shirt switch, so Mountaineer walk-on Cam Payne removed his warmup and then took off his No. 20 jersey to give to Mazzulla.
About the time, Meador arrived on the scene with a No. 24 jersey, which Mazzulla wore for the rest of the game.
The last Mountaineer player to wear no. 24 was Josh Sowards, in 2006. It was Joe Herber's number from 2001-02 through 2004-05.
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WVU Coach Bob Huggins was asked about the Mountaineers' defensive futility in trying to stop the Duke threesome of Singler, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith, who combined for 63 points. Huggins said there's more to the Blue devils than the nation's highest-scoring trio.
"What's really hard is if you try to do too many things to keep the ball out of those three guys, and those three perimeter guys are terrific. You turn the other two guys (Zoubek and 6-8 Lance Thomas) loose at the rim to rebound the ball, and I don't think you can let them offensive rebound the ball.
"I told our guys and told our guys and told our guys. I say that, my center is 6-6 and theirs is 7-1. And what happens is they get you so deep, and then he does a great job of putting a body on you. He constantly has a body on you. Then it becomes a reaching game.
"My experience has been 7-1 guys outreach 6-6 guys every time. They don't force things. They throw it back out. They get step-in threes. Mike (Krzyzewski) has done a great job with them. He's done an unbelievable job with them."
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The West Virginia cheering section behind the Mountaineer bench on Saturday night included Gov. Joe Manchin and WVU President Jim Clements -- and a couple of other higher-paid men, too.
Supporting Coach Bob Huggins and his team were two head coaches who were Huggins' assistants in the past -- Kansas State Coach Frank Martin, whose team fell in a regional final to Butler last weekend, and Andy Kennedy, the coach at Ole Miss who lost earlier this season at the WVU Coliseum.