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(Wednesday, January 13th)
Final Score: (10) West Virginia 69, South Florida 50
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Devin Ebanks finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, as 10th-ranked West Virginia pulled away in a 69-50 win over South Florida.
Darryl Bryant added 15 points for the Mountaineers (13-2, 4-1 Big East), who rebounded from a setback at Notre Dame on Saturday, their first conference loss. Da'Sean Butler added 12 points, nine boards and four assists in Wednesday's victory, West Virginia's sixth straight over South Florida.
Dominique Jones scored 28 points -- 19 in the first half -- to pace the Bulls (10-6, 0-4), who have lost their last four.
A pair of Jones baskets put South Florida ahead 10-4 in the opening minutes, and the Bulls stretched their lead later in the half. Mike Mercer's layup ended a six-point burst to make it a 23-12 game with under eight minutes left.
But the Mountaineers rattled off the next 12 points to move in front. Bryant had the final nine points of the run to give West Virginia a 24-23 edge, and the Mountaineers were up 32-30 at the break.
"I was just so frustrated at halftime," West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said. "[Jones] is a heck of a player, but 19 is a lot of points and 19 out of 30 is really a lot of points. We did in the second half what we were supposed to do the whole game."
West Virginia opened the second half with a 14-2 run to take control, as Wellington Smith's layup opened up a 46-32 advantage.
"I think it was us," Jones said. "I think everybody got a little bit excited and wanted to do their own thing. That just took us out of our flow. They got the momentum and just ran off with the game from there."
Chris Howard countered with two free throws, but the Mountaineers responded with a three from Kevin Jones and a layup from Bryant for a 51-34 lead with 12:51 left. South Florida didn't make a serious dent in its deficit the rest of the way.
WVU owns a 6-1 edge over USF all-time...Mercer, Howard and Jarrid Famous each scored six in the loss...Jones ended with nine points for the Mountaineers...Jones shot 2-for-10 in the second half, as USF shot 16.1 percent over the final 20 minutes.
01/13 23:19:01 ET