What is the greatest win in WVU basketball history? It might depend on how old you are.
For older fans, it might be the 94-79 NCAA Tournament semifinal win over Louisville in the 1959 Final Four that sent the Mountaineers to the national championship game against California. The game was played in front of over 18,000 in Louisville’s Freedom Hall. Jerry West had 38 points and 15 rebounds.
For fans my age, it might be a 94-90 regular-season win over No. 1-ranked Duke at the old Charleston Civic Center on Feb. 7, 1966.
For younger fans it might be recent regular season wins over top-ranked Big 12 foes Kansas and Baylor.
In reality, the greatest win probably occurred on March 27, 2010 in front of 22.407 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. On that day the Mountaineers upset Kentucky 73-66 to win the NCAA East Regional and advance to the Final Four.
That was an incredible Kentucky team that seemed poised to win a national title. Kentucky’s starting lineup of John Wall, Darius Miller, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins were all NBA players. Four of the five were drafted in the first round. In fact, Wall was the first pick of the 2010 draft. Cousins was number five.
WVU had balanced scoring led by Joe Mazulla (17), Da’Sean Butler (18), Kevin Jones (13) and Devin Ebanks (12).
n For many WVU fans, the most exciting game they have ever seen was a second-round NCAA Tournament game on March 19, 2005 when No. 7 seed WVU upset No. 2 seed Wake Forest 111-105 in Cleveland. Wake was coached by Skip Prosser and featured future basketball Hall of Fame player Chris Paul.
WVU coach John Beilein lost his voice and he had to instruct the team through the voices of the assistant coaches. Mike Gansey exploded for 29 points and Tyrone Sally scored 21.
One of the Wake Forest players was Justin Gray, who this past week was named the head coach at Western Carolina. Gray is following Mark Prosser, (Skip’s son), who is the new head coach at Winthrop.
n Fans in the upper Kanawha Valley might recognize a couple of names of young stars in the girls prep basketball tournament this week in Charleston. In Class AAAA, one of George Washington’s top players is a freshman, Finley Lohan, the granddaughter of former DuPont basketball player Larry Lohan. Her father, Jay Lohan, played at GW and Bethany College.
Woodrow Wilson freshman Sarah Hopkins is the granddaughter of former West Virginia Tech Hall of Famer Benny Hopkins. Benny was a multi-sport athlete at DuPont and a longtime football coach at Valley High School. His granddaughter is a good young basketball player, but her best sport may be softball. Sarah’s uncle, Neil Hopkins, also played football at Tech and was a longtime assistant football coach at East Bank.