CINCINNATI — In the annual Big East-Big 12 Battle, Xavier’s end of the game run was enough to get passed West Virginia 84-74. The Musketeers went on an 11-2 run to close the game.
West Virginia (6-2) just had an answer for every Xavier (6-3) run, except the final run in the last four minutes. WVU made shots at the proper time when the momentum of the game was shifting. The Musketeers trailed 41-31 with two minutes left in the first half and proceeded to go on a 6-0 run. Erik Stevenson, who answered most of Xavier’s runs, connected on a jump shot to give West Virginia a seven-point lead heading into the half.
Stevenson finished with a team-high of 16 points. The Washington native shot 6-of-13 from the field.
West Virginia’s offense against Xavier was consistent throughout the game. The Mountaineers finished the night shooting 46 percent from the field and 47 percent from three.
WVU C Jimmy Bell had a great night offensively, scoring 12 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting. Bell has been improving more and more with each game played with the Mountaineers.
With six minutes left in the game, Bell and Tre Mitchell each had four fouls each.
WVU’s bench, which has averaged 34 points through seven games, scored 19 points.
Saturday’s game marked the first time in 5,364 days since Bob Huggins coached against Xavier and 5,813 days since coaching at the Cintas Center. Huggins coached against Xavier 18 times between 1990 and 2008; 16 with Cincinnati, one with Kansas State and one with West Virginia.
Huggins, who coached in the Crosstown Shootout rivalry between Cincinnati and Xavier for 16 seasons, didn’t hold back on his thoughts of the Musketeers.
“I don’t have any good thoughts of Xavier whatsoever,” Huggins said on Thursday.
Xavier’s fans came out to the Cintas Center ready to give Huggins an ear full. When Huggins walked out onto the floor, he immediately heard boos.
Bob Huggins takes the court in Cincinnati: pic.twitter.com/0RxwLWq8TJ
— Ethan Bock (@ethanbock_) December 3, 2022
With the win, the Big East Conference takes a 5-4 lead in the Big East-Big 12 Battle. The final game of the battle features St. John’s traveling to Ames to take on Iowa State.
West Virginia will look to shift focus to heading back to Morgantown as they host Navy on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.