West Virginia coach Bob Huggins threw everything he could defensively at No. 8 Purdue until the Mountaineers finally found a rhythm on offense.
Kevin Jones scored nine of his 17 points during a late 18-6 run and West Virginia held off the Boilermakers, 68-64, on Sunday in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia was coming off its most prolific offensive showing of the season in a 93-63 win over Providence on Thursday night and turned in a scrappy defensive effort against the Boilermakers.
“This was as much a team effort as any game we’ve played this year,” Huggins said.
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John Flowers added 15 points, Truck Bryant scored 12 and Joe Mazzulla had 10 for West Virginia (12-4), which is riding a season-high four-game winning streak.
West Virginia shot 52 percent (14-of-27) from the floor after halftime and was able to overcome a game-high 26 points scored by JaJuan Johnson for Purdue.
“He’s probably as hard to guard as any big guy we’ve played in the 31/2 years I’ve been here,” Huggins said.
At St. John’s 72, No. 9 Notre Dame 54: D.J. Kennedy and Malik Boothe scored 14 points each to lead the Red Storm (11-5, 4-2 Big East) past the Fighting Irish (14-4, 3-3), reversing the outcome of the teams’ game eight days ago.
At Montana State 71, Eastern Washington 59: Erik Rush, Rod Singleton and Bobby Howard each scored 14 points to lead five players in double figures, and the Bobcats (11-7, 5-1 Big Sky Conference) shot 72.7 percent after halftime to rally past the Eagles (4-13, 1-4).
Glen Dean scored 17 points and Kevin Winford had 14 for EWU, which lost its fifth straight.
Fourth-ranked Syracuse (18-0, 5-0 Big East), one of four unbeaten teams remaining in major college men’s basketball, will travel to Pittsburgh (17-1, 5-0) tonight for a first-place showdown (4:30 p.m., ESPN).
Syracuse is one win from matching the best start in school history, set in the 1999-2000 season, but will be playing without leading scorer Kris Joseph.
Joseph crashed to the floor and hit his head Saturday in a 67-52 victory over No. 25 Cinncinati.
Pitt has beaten Syracuse the past seven times the teams have played in the regular season.