WVU Looks To Sweep OU

MORGANTOWN– Rebounding. Toughness. Play hard.

A trio of traits which all basketball players are expected to display if they are going to be successful on the hardwood.

But, for sophomore forward Logan Routt they were the key for the former-Cameron High School standout to advance from walk-on to scholarship player and now from the Mountaineersí bench to one of West Virginiaís top inside reserve.

ìThose three things I can bring,î Routt explained following Saturdayís 89-51 thumping of Kansas State. ìI donít particularly care if I score, thatís not my role.

ìMy role is to come in and play physical when I score, itís a plus.î

The 6-foot-11 former-Maxon-Dixon Co-Player of the Year was at his best against the Wildcats, coming in for sophomore standout Sagaba Konate at the 15:24 mark of the first half with the No. 15 Mountaineers clinging to a 9-5 lead.

After committing a foul which allowed KSUís Makol Mawien to slice the margin to two, 9-7, Routt answered with his first points since the Coppin State game back on Dec. 20, when he took a pass from senior Jevon Carter and put the ball in to push the lead back to four, 11-7, at the 14:37 mark.

Routt, who was fouled on the play by the Wildcatsí Cartier Diarra, completed the 3-point play with a successful free throw moments later as WVU continued to fight off a game KSU over the next two minutes.

His play was solid enough that head coach Bob Huggins brought him back in with 8:43 remaining until the intermission.

But, while Routtís numbers – three points and three rebounds in five minutes of action – wonít earn him a spot on the all-Big 12 Conference team, they were key in helping Konate, who, like most of his teammates, was fighting through flu-like symptoms, get the rest he needed to finish the half with nine of WVUís 39 first half points.

ìSags plays so hard every minute he is on the floor that he wears himself out faster than most players,î said Routt. ìSo, itís important that we can bring someone in who can handle the middle while he recovers.

ìThatís my job.î

A job which is going to be needed again at 9 p.m. Monday when WVU (17-6, 6-4 Big 12) travels to Norman (Okla.) to take on No. 12 Oklahoma (16-6, 6-4 Big 12) as part of ESPNís ëBig Mondayí.

ìThere are no easy games in the Big 12,î continued Routt. ìEvery game we play from here on out, we are going to have to play our best if we want to win.î

The Mountaineers got a little bit of their swagger back with their 38-point win over KSU while the Sooners – led by NBA Draft Lottery hopeful Trae Young – suffered a heartbreaking 79-74 setback to the University of Texas.

Konate led four players into double figures for WVU with 19 points. James ëBeetleí Bolden (13), Teddy Allen (12) and Wesley Harris (10) joined him while Carter contributed a game-high 11 assists and six points.

Young, who is considered by many to be a Top 5 draft pick, finished with a double-double (19 points, 14 assists), but he also committed five turnovers and made just two of 14 shots from the arc.

In the teamsí first meeting, ëPress Virginiaí forced the Soonersí playmaker into eight miscues enroute to an 89-76 triumph.

Allen led a balanced scoring attack with 20 points. Carter and Lamont West added 17 points apiece and Konate chipped in a double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) as well as five blocked shots.

Carter, Konate and Harris should again be in the starting lineup for the Old Gold and Blue. The other two positions will, in all likelihood, be manned by junior Esa Ahmad and senior Daxter Miles Jr.

That lineup could change if Miles has not fully recovered from the flu. If Miles canít go, expect Bolden to be on the floor for the tipoff.

Oklahoma will likely go with a lineup which includes Young, Christian James and Rashard Odomes at the guards with Khadeem Lattin and Brady Manek doing battle with Konate, Ahmad and Harris in the paint.