WVU basketball: Rutledge doesn’t see action against Zags
SPOKANE, Wash. -- The West Virginia University men's basketball team played its first-ever game in the state of Washington on Monday night.
WVU senior forward Dominique Rutledge didn't get to partake.
In the Mountaineers' 84-50 loss to Gonzaga here at the McCarthey Athletic Center, WVU struggled in performance and had its frontcourt players in almost immediate foul trouble.
Rutledge, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound senior, never got summoned to remove his warmup shirt and enter the game.
In a postgame session with the media, Huggins was asked if he had an explanation for why Rutledge didn't see any minutes despite the need for big bodies underneath.
"No, I don't," the veteran head coach said. "That's a good question."
Kevin Noreen, a 6-10 forward, fouled out with 11:01 left in the second half. Deniz Kilicli, a 6-8 senior starter at forward, picked up his fifth foul with 5:29 left. Junior transfer Aaric Murray, who started at center, played 26 minutes and picked up four fouls.
Huggins tinkered with lineups, but never went to Rutledge.
Rutledge played sparingly early last season before surging late. He averaged 17 minutes per game over the last five games, and scored 24 points and had 37 rebounds in that stretch.
Rutledge played 14 minutes, scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds in WVU's exhibition win over Glenville State last week.
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THE MOUNTAINEERS (0-1) haven't experienced much success against ranked teams lately.
The loss to Gonzaga, ranked No. 19 in both national polls, was West Virginia's sixth consecutive defeat to a nationally ranked opponent. WVU went 1-7 against ranked teams last season and is 4-14 in its last 18 games against teams in the top 25.
The loss was the Mountaineers' seventh in a row to a ranked team on the road. The last win came on Jan. 8, 2011 at No. 13 Georgetown (65-59).
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MURRAY PARTICIPATED in his first official NCAA game since March 11, 2011.
The La Salle transfer had 14 points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 26 minutes. He averaged 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds as a sophomore at La Salle, and sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules.
Murray recorded at least two blocks for the sixth consecutive game, and it was the sixth time in his career that he's had multiple steals and multiple blocked shots in the same game.
He was WVU's only player to score in double figures against Gonzaga.
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JUWAN STATEN, like Murray, was making his WVU debut after sitting out last season following a transfer.
The 6-1 sophomore went scoreless against Gonzaga, missing all six shots in his first action since March 22, 2011. Staten had only one scoreless game at Dayton, where he played his freshman season.
Staten logged 34 minutes at point guard and had one assist and two turnovers. He averaged 5.4 assists and 2.6 turnovers in 29 games for Dayton in 2010-11.
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MONDAY NIGHT'S WVU-Gonzaga game, which opened ESPN's annual 24 hours of hoops marathon, was the Mountaineers' first game in the most northwestern state in the contiguous United States.
WVU has now played in 36 of 50 states.