No. 1 Kentucky smashes WVU in Sweet 16

Charleston Gazette photo by The Associated Press Kentucky’s Marcus Lee (right) blocks a shot by West Virginia’s Jonathan Holton .

Charleston Gazette photo by The Associated Press Kentucky’s Marcus Lee (right) blocks a shot by West Virginia’s Jonathan Holton .
Charleston Gazette photo by The Associated Press
Kentucky’s Marcus Lee (right) blocks a shot by West Virginia’s Jonathan Holton .

CLEVELAND — This was certainly not the way West Virginia envisioned ending its season, but at least the Mountaineers went quickly.

In fact, it was only a matter of minutes after Thursday night’s game with top-ranked Kentucky began that for all intents and purposes it also ended.

Dominating West Virginia as few teams have in the school’s entire history, the Wildcats ran out to an 18-2 lead at the start, had the Mountaineers down 44-18 at halftime and 54-19 eight minutes into the second half.

When all was said and done, the final was 78-39 and, yes, it was just as lopsided as the score makes it sound.

“We couldn’t have played any worse and I don’t think they could have played any better,’’ West Virginia’s Devin Williams said. “We really just got outworked as a team.’’

Outworked, outshot, outrebounded — suffice it to say that West Virginia was pretty much out-everythinged.

“We didn’t come out punching,’’ said Jonathan Holton. “They played their game and we didn’t play ours. We struggled.’’

The loss ended a season in which fifth-seeded West Virginia (25-10) made it into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012, won a game in the tourney for the first time since 2011 and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010…

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