The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

January 31, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN: In wild game, Butler again saves the day

MORGANTOWN — There are games and then there are GAMES.

West Virginia and Louisville played a GAME on Saturday.

And there are players and then there are PLAYERS.

Da’Sean Butler is a PLAYER.

Consider that Butler hit a 3 to start the game and a basket and two free throws to end it with West Virginia pulling out a pulsating, captivating 77-74 victory over Louisville, and that wasn’t the half of it.

Explaining what transpired at the Coliseum before the non-blinking eye of the ESPN cameras is almost an impossible task, for this was a regular season game played like a playoff game in the middle of the regular season.

“It’s the Big East,” was the way West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins described it. “That’s what happens.”

His coaching opponent, Rick Pitino, was at a loss for words. Seething over the officiating and, perhaps, from the incessant chant of “Kar-en, Sy-pher,” “Kar-en, Sy-pher” that the student body put forth, referring to his rather lurid extramarital affair, Pitino uttered three post-game sentences chastising the officiating then turned his post-game press conference over to assistant Ralph Willard.

Perhaps the best place to begin when discussing the afternoon tea party at the Coliseum is with those students. Asked to clean up their act after a vulgar performance against Ohio State, the students reacted as only they can.

Some — no, make that many — chose to stay away, which only meant that the boycotters missed the most entertaining game of the season. Those who chose to come among the Mountaineer Maniacs did so wearing T-shirts with a front of a tuxedo printed on them and on the back the words, “Keeping it classy since 1863.”

And classy they stayed, right up until Pitino stuck his head out of his locker room before the game and they began their chant.

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