No. 7 West Virginia 60, No. 22 Georgetown 58

Da’Sean Butler’s latest game-winner wasn’t as dramatic as his

first. This one did give West Virginia its first Big East

championship.

The senior guard had a net draped around his neck, a brand new

championship hat on his head and a special place forever in the

hearts of Mountaineer fans.

“We wanted to win this for our state first because the people

there love us so much and support us so much,” Butler said. “I

definitely know it means the world to them. … That was our main

concern, not letting the state down.”

Not even close.

Butler, a senior and first-team All-Big East selection, scored

in the lane with 4.2 seconds left in the seventh-ranked

Mountaineers’ 60-58 victory over No. 22 Georgetown on Saturday

night.

That came two days after he banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer

in a 54-51 quarterfinal win over Cincinnati.

“We ran the same play that we set up for the Cincinnati game,”

Butler said. “They kind of overplayed one side and went the other

way. I came up to the top of the key, and I had to come get the

ball and they kind of switched. I think Monroe was on me. And I

think he had a feeling I was going to shoot a 3. I had a little

hesitation, went around him and Freeman stepped up, and I had a

little hop step and scooped the layup off the glass and it

fell.”

Third-seeded West Virginia, the only one of the top four seeds

to escape the quarterfinals, was making its second championship

game appearance. Just like the Mountaineers’ two other wins in this

tournament, this one was close and Butler had a lot to do with

it.

He had 20 points for the Mountaineers (27-6) and was selected

the tournament MVP and there wasn’t much doubt about that.

Chris Wright had 20 points for the eighth-seeded Hoyas (23-10).

His length-of-the-court drive to tie the game came up short.

“I was just thinking to get to the basket, try to finish, get a

layup,” Wright said. “I had time on the clock, I wasn’t thinking

about a pullup or anything, just get to the basket.”

The win left West Virginia in the running for a possible No. 1

seed when the NCAA tournament field is announced Sunday night.

“We have 18 top 100 wins. We have nine top 50 wins. Our

non-league RPI was second. Our strength of schedule is going to be

1. We’re going to end up in the top two or three in the RPI,” West

Virginia coach Bob Huggins said, reciting his team’s qualifications

for a No. 1 seeding. “They say do those things, we’ve done those

things.

“We are what we are,” Huggins added. “We’re just going to

keep competing. If the day comes we’re going to lose in the next

few weeks, we’re going to go down swinging.”

Wellington Smith had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the

Mountaineers, who have won six straight and eight of nine.

The championship game was the perfect cap to a tournament full

of close games – seven of the 15 were decided by three points or

fewer – and upsets.

Austin Freeman, who was diagnosed last week with diabetes, hit a

3 for Georgetown with 51 seconds left to tie the game at 56.

Butler missed a 3-point attempt about 15 seconds later and West

Virginia was able to get the rebound. Wright fouled Joe Mazzulla

out near midcourt with 27 seconds to go and he made both to break

the tie.

“I made a mistake,” Wright said in admitting he hadn’t looked

at the scoreboard.

Wright scored on a nice spin move with 17 seconds left for the

game’s final tie.

West Virginia took a timeout with 9 seconds to go. Butler got

the ball just below the foul line and hit a fallaway in the lane

for the 60-58 lead.

Wright’s miss at the buzzer left Georgetown still with its

record of seven Big East titles.

The Hoyas, who had blowouts wins over South Florida and

Marquette around a 91-84 victory over top-seeded and third-ranked

Syracuse in the quarterfinals, were trying to become the

second-lowest seed to win a championship behind Syracuse, which was

in 2006 as a No. 9 seed. They were also trying to become the third

team to win four games in a tournament, matching Syracuse in 2006

and Pittsburgh in 2008.

The one thing Georgetown does know about its seeding in the NCAA

tournament is that it will be better than the No. 8 it managed in

the conference tournament.

“It’s hard to analyze that right now just because I’m extremely

disappointed, we have three guys with me that are extremely

disappointed, we have a locker room down the hall with a bunch of

other guys that are disappointed,” Georgetown coach John Thompson

III said when asked about his team’s NCAA prospects. “That said, I

don’t think this group ever lost confidence in what we’re doing,

lost confidence in each other.”