Zags hand WVU a late-night, cross-country drubbing
SPOKANE, Wash. -- West Virginia's first men's basketball game ever in the state of Washington resulted in Coach Bob Huggins' worst loss in six seasons with the Mountaineers.
Gonzaga led WVU for all but 30 seconds of an 84-50 rout in front of a capacity crowd (6,000) here at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The No. 19 Bulldogs, who also bounced the Mountaineers by 23 points in the NCAA Tournament in March, used an early 16-0 run to break open a game that started ESPN's annual 24 hours of hoops marathon.
Gonzaga (2-0) led by double figures for the final 33:07 and held a 45-18 advantage at halftime.
"Obviously we have a lot to fix," said Huggins, whose previous worst loss as WVU's coach was a 27-point defeat to Notre Dame last season. "How do you fix them all, you know?"
West Virginia (0-1) made just 5 of 23 shots in the first half, including 1 of 13 attempts from beyond the arc.
Gonzaga went on a 16-0 run after Aaric Murray gave WVU a brief 2-1 lead. The Mountaineers struggled with fouls, turnovers, shooting and defense as they unraveled in front of the national television audience.
"Once the game was going really bad everybody panicked," WVU senior Deniz Kilicli said. "When you panic it's going to get worse."
Gonzaga improved to 106-7 in its nine-year-old on-campus arena. The Bulldogs shot above 50 percent from the field in each half -- 15-for-29 (51.7 percent) in the opening half and 11-for-21 (52.4 percent) after intermission -- and hit 9 of 16 shots from 3-point land.
The Zags shot 52 percent for the game even after a rough start offensively. Gonzaga missed 11 of its first 12 shots, but shot 65.8 percent the rest of the way.
Statistically, WVU was outrebounded 38-36 and had nearly twice as many turnovers (20-12) while shooting 27.3 percent from the field and 11.5 percent on 3-pointers.
Outside the numbers, Aaron Brown and Murray were taunted by the crowd after airballs. WVU turned it over in the first half because of a 5-second violation on an inbounds pass coming out of a timeout, and in the second half the Mountaineers let the shot clock expire without showing a sense of urgency to hoist an attempt.
"We didn't compete," Huggins said. "That's what bothers me more than anything."
Murray, making his WVU debut, was the only Mountaineer in double figures with 14. Jabarie Hinds had 9 points and he and Murray combined to shoot 9-for-18 from the field. The rest of the team combined to miss 31 of 37 shots.
Gonzaga had five finish in double figures: Gary Bell Jr. (15), Guy Landry Edi (14), Kevin Pangos (13), Elias Harris (11) and Mike Hart (10).
Huggins said the team will have Tuesday and Wednesday off before starting preparations for the Old Spice Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., next week. WVU plays Marist on Nov. 22 in the event.