MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Da'Sean Butler scored 27 and Alex Ruoff added 19 as West Virginia escaped with a 62-59 win over the University of South Florida on Saturday.
Butler scored 17 points in the first half for the Mountaineers (13-4, 2-2 Big East Conference). He scored eight straight points during a 20-3 run as West Virginia claimed a 32-17 lead in the first half.
The Mountaineers went on to build their biggest lead at 17 points in the first half, before heading into halftime with a 34-20 advantage.
But WVU had to hold on as USF (6-11, 1-4) battled back and cut West Virginia's lead to 51-50 on a 3-pointer by Dominique Jones with 5:27 left in the second half. The Bulls kept the margin at one point down the stretch but never pulled ahead as the Mountaineers went up by five points on Alex Ruoff's free throw.
Jones led the Bulls with 35 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The 35 points by Jones was one shy of his career high 36 set earlier this year vs. Iona and his highest in a BIG EAST game. Jesus Verdejo added 11 for the Bulls.
Post Game Notes
• Up Next: The Bulls return home after a three-game road trip to host DePaul on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 9 p.m. in a nationally televised game on ESPNU. The game can also be heard on WHNZ 1250 AM and GoUSFBulls.com. After DePaul, the Bulls remain home to take on Villanova on Saturday, Jan. 24, at Noon at the Sun Dome.
• Sophomore guard Dominique Jones poured in a game-high 35 points at WVU, one shy of his career high of 36 set earlier this season vs. Iona (12/27/09). It was his career high for a BIG EAST game, besting the 31 he had vs. Seton Hall last year (2/26/08).
• Jones now has six career games with 30 or more points, second most in USF history. He now also has 18 career games with 20 or more points.
• Jones also tied his season high with eight rebounds and set a season high with 11 free throws made. He added three assists with no turnovers.
• Senior guard Jesus Verdejo was also in double figures with 11 points.
• With his 35 points, Jones passed four former Bulls to move into a tie for 26th on the all-time USF scoring list. He sits at 843 career points, tied with Derrick Sharp. He is 38 points behind Chonsey Asbury’s 881 points for 25th all-time.