On this day in 2010, the No. 2 seed West Virginia Mountaineers outlasted the No. 1 seed Kentucky Wildcats, 73-66, in an Elite Eight matchup at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.
This marked the first time since 1959 that the Mountaineers would return to the Final Four.
West Virginia was heavily underrated in this game, as Kentucky was led by freshmen stand-outs John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe. Head coach John Calipari was completing his first year in Lexington and completed the roster with veterans Patrick Patterson and Darius Miller to support these freshmen.
This young Kentucky team was met with an older West Virginia team and the experience showed in the game. The Wildcats were able to hang with the Mountaineers for the first half… and that was it.
Out of halftime, West Virginia was on fire, starting the second half on an 8-0 run that was capped off by a John Flowers 3-pointer. Kentucky showed some fight, not letting the game get out of hand. That was until WVU went on another 8-0 run, leading 61-45, with just four minutes to play. Kentucky shot 4-of-32 (12.5%) from three, giving no trouble for the Mountaineers to take advantage of the missed shots.
In the final stretch of the game, UK went on a run to bring the deficit down to single-digits but the run was too late. West Virginia defeated Kentucky and was on their way to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the Final Four.
“The first day I was here, I told them I came back to win a national championship,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “I came back to win it for the university, having played there, and for the great people of our state.”
Da’Sean Butler led away with an 18-point performance, hitting 4-of-8 of his 3-point attempts. Butler recorded six rebounds in the 40 minutes played against the Wildcats.
Junior guard Joe Mazzulla decided to step up in the biggest game of his career, scoring 17 points in his first start of the season. Mazzulla was stepping in for Truck Bryant, who sustained an injury before the Washington game. Mazzulla shot 5-of-11 from the field and stole the ball away from Kentucky, twice.
As West Virginia made their first Final Four appearance since 1959, this means that THIS team is the only WVU team in the last 61 years to make it that far. Let’s always be grateful for the group of guys, along with an amazing coaching staff and the magic that the 2010 team had.
Enjoy the highlights of the game someone made back 11 years ago. Yes, this video screams 2010 YouTube highlight video.
(Top Photo: C. Chambers / Getty Images)