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    Irish Fall To Mountaineers In BIG EAST Second Round, 74-62

    FIGHTING IRISH West Virginia's Kevin Jones, right, blocks the shot of Notre Dame's Zach Hillesland during the first half.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    West Virginia's Kevin Jones, right, blocks the shot of Notre Dame's Zach Hillesland during the first half.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    March 11, 2009

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    NEW YORK (AP)--Alex Ruoff scored 25 points, Devin Ebanks had 17 rebounds and West Virginia built a big halftime lead then held off a surge led by Luke Harangody to beat Notre Dame 74-62 Wednesday night in the second round of the Big East tournament.

    West Virginia went up 36-18 at halftime with a smothering defense that pushed Harangody off the ball and forced him to shoot just 2-of-6 for four points in the half. Harangody muscled his way open in the second and ran off nine straight points and 15 of 18 to help the Irish get within eight with 2:27 to play,

    But Notre Dame (18-14) got no closer and the Mountaineers (22-10) advanced to the quarterfinals and a matchup with No. 2-seeded and second-ranked Pittsburgh. Pitt is one of three Big East teams that could end up with a top seeding in the NCAA field.

    The Big East's regular-season scoring leader, Harangody finished with 27 points and eight rebounds after shooting just 3-for-17 in Notre Dame's first-round win.

    Ruoff became West Virginia's leader for 3-pointers when he hit one at 13:52 of the first half. He shot 4-for-7 from beyond the arc as West Virginia was 11-for-20 from 3-point range. Da'Sean Butler, despite shooting 4-of-15 in the first half, had 20 points for the Mountaineers. Ebanks added seven points and Darryl Bryant had 17 for West Virginia.

    As time ran out, Ruoff brought the ball upcourt to a loud ovation from the crowd at Madison Square Garden, where West Virginia improved to 11-5.

    Kyle McAlarney had 17 points in Notre Dame's second loss this season to West Virginia.

    Notre Dame finished 7-of-27 (25.9 percent), and the Mountaineers shot better than 35 percent (14-for-40).

    The Mountaineers outrebounded the Irish 31-16, 13-2 on offense, in the first half and 52-32 overall.

    After being outplayed in the first half, Notre Dame came out and made its first five shots of the second to cut the lead to nine, 39-30. Harangody made his first three shots in the run.

    But West Virginia replied and built the lead back to 20, going 9-for-9 from the free throw line in the stretch, including three when Ruoff was fouled on a 3-point attempt, before Harangody helped bring the Irish back.

     

     

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