Arizona Falls to West Virginia, 75-65.

March 21, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) - Alex Ruoff scored 21 points, Da'Sean Butler had 19, and West Virginia won 75-65 over Arizona Thursday night in the opening round of the West Regional.

West Virginia (25-10) took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Ruoff with 17:43 left, and another jumper by Rouff from beyond the arc made it 48-39. After Arizona closed to 60-59, two 3-pointers by Darris Nichols and another by Ruoff sealed the victory.

The Mountaineers went 11-for-19 from 3-point range, led by Ruoff (5-for-7) and Nichols (4-for-7). The 11 3-pointers tied a season high.

West Virginia, the No. 7 seed, on Saturday will face second-seeded Duke, which squeezed past Belmont 71-70.

Arizona's run of 24 straight appearances in the NCAA tournament is the longest current run in the nation, but this was the 10th time during the streak that the Wildcats exited in the opening round.

The defeat also ended Arizona's run of 20 consecutive 20-win seasons, the longest streak of its kind in the nation. The Wildcats entered with 14 losses, equaling the most for an at-large team since 1985.

Chase Budinger led Arizona (19-15) with 23 points, and Jordan Hill had 16 points and 12 rebounds. The Wildcats are 0-3 all time as a No. 10 seed.

The Mountaineers took a 31-30 halftime lead despite a late run by Budinger, who scored nine of Arizona's final 10 points before the break.

It was 13-all before West Virginia's Joe Mazzulla drilled a 3-pointer and Butler made two straight jumpers for a seven-point cushion. But the Mountaineers made only one basket over the next three minutes, and coach Bob Huggins angrily addressed his players during a timeout with West Virginia up 22-17.

Minutes later, Arizona point guard Nic Wise ended up on the floor and got up gingerly, gripping his knee.

'That's how we do it in the Big East!' yelled one unsympathetic Mountaineers fan.

Wise soon returned, showing no sign of injury.