MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – Da’Sean Butler scored 21 points and No. 11 West Virginia came from 14 points down to defeat No. 21 Ohio State 71-65 on Saturday.
Darryl Bryant added 14 points and Wellington Smith scored 11 for the Mountaineers (15-3), who overcame yet another slow start to beat the Buckeyes (14-6) for the second straight season.
William Buford led Ohio State with 22 points and Evan Turner added 18.
West Virginia scored the first 10 points after halftime to take control. Butler had 16 after the break, including 3-pointers a couple minutes apart that put the Mountaineers ahead 62-56 with 6:28 left. Ohio State made just one field goal over the final 8 minutes.
The Buckeyes couldn’t forget last year’s 76-48 loss to the Mountaineers in Columbus, Ohio State’s largest margin of defeat ever at home against an unranked opponent.
And for a while it looked like Ohio State would get revenge.
West Virginia stepped up its intensity inside, though, outrebounding the Buckeyes 35-26 after the teams were about even in the first half.
Turner, who had 13 first-half points, was quiet for most of the second half but made five free throws over a 2-minute stretch to keep the Buckeyes close.
Jon Diebler hit two free throws with 1:37 left and Dallas Lauderdale scored off a Turner miss with 56 seconds left to bring the Buckeyes within 69-65, but Ohio State didn’t score again.
West Virginia’s Devin Ebanks continued his January slump, going to the bench and getting an earful from coach Bob Huggins midway through the first half for lapses on the offensive end.
Ebanks, the team’s third-leading scorer, had just seven points, the fourth time in five games he’s been below double figures.
Butler’s day didn’t start so well. He had three early turnovers, Ohio State scored the game’s first eight points and led 29-15 midway through the first half.
It marked the fourth time in six games that West Virginia fell behind by double digits in the first half.