- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 13, 2010

NEW YORK | 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.

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