WVU basketball: Mountaineers roll Keydets
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Wednesday night's game at the Coliseum could have been the type that troubled West Virginia.
Virginia Military Institute came to campus ranked in the top 10 nationally in possessions and points per game and in the top 15 in shots attempted. The Mountaineers came in off back to back losses that restored the old worries they couldn't shoot or score, let alone play the up-tempo, higher-scoring style they desired.
Turns out the Keydets were just what WVU needed.
The Mountaineers had their fifth-best point total in 181 games under Coach Bob Huggins in a 94-69 win before 7,531.
"We want to play a faster, high-speed game, so they played right into our hands," point guard Juwan Staten said. "This is something we want to do, so it made it easier for us because they play the way we want to play. They play fast, but they even sped us up a little, which was good for us."
Staten led all scorers with 18 points and was one of seven players in double figures as the Mountaineers (2-3) avoided their third three-game losing streak in the past 17 games.
"That," said guard Gary Brown, who flirted with a triple double, "is the way we've been wanting to play."
Browne had 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Terry Henderson had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Staten was the third guard with seven rebounds,
Aaric Murray finished 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocks and with Deniz Kilicli scored 13 points, though he was limited to 16 minutes because of very early foul trouble. Keaton Miles added 11 points, four steals, two blocks and four of the team's nine steals. Eron Harris had 10 points off the bench as WVU's reserves totaled 36.
WVU had assists on 20 of 37 baskets and shot 50 percent in the first half, but just 40.9 percent in the second. The Mountaineers were 0-for-12 from 3-point range after halftime and 3-for-19 in the game.
"I told them in there our biggest problem is when we practice for two hours, I get an hour and 40 minutes out of them. When we go for three hours, I get two hours, maybe two hours and 10 minutes out of them," Huggins said. "So, consequently, I don't get 40 minutes out of them when we play 40 minutes. We've got to do a better job of that."
The Keydets (3-4) shot just 37 percent in the game (25-for-67) and missed 20 of 28 3-point attempts and 11 of 22 free-throw attempts. They were held well below averages for points (85) and shots (80), mostly because of WVU's defense, which contested shots and passes and forced 15 turnovers good for 20 points.
The Mountaineers also had a 25-5 edge in second-chance points.
"We got our points in a lot of different ways," Staten said. "They tried a lot of quick shots and that let us get outlet passes, which makes it easier to score. When the other team moves the ball around in the half-court and makes us defend, that's something that gives us trouble."
WVU, which plays Marshall Wednesday at the Civic Center, had about as ominous a start as possible and trailed 11-6 and lost just about all of its size in the opening minutes. Murray missed a jumper on the opening possession, but Kilicli was called for a foul on the rebound. Kilicli got the ball back with a steal and the ball went ahead to Murray on a break, but he bobbled the ball on the way up and missed his layup.
Jabarie Hinds was in position for the put back, but he missed. The Keydets went the other way in a hurry and missed a 3, but scored on the rebound.
Kilicli scored inside and then rebounded a missed 3 before Staten scored on the fast break. VMI evened the score again before Hinds turned the ball over and set up VMI for a 7-4 lead on a three-point play. VMI pressed after the free throw and Kilicli committed his second foul after taking the inbound pass.
He went to the bench at the 17:45 mark and remained there the rest of the half. His replacement, Dominique Rutledge, made a layup on his first touch, but ended up rolling an ankle when he committed a foul a little while later. He went to the locker room and didn't return to the bench.
VMI would lead 11-6 and WVU was 3-for-9 from the floor with four missed layups. The Mountaineers added more injury to insult.
Kevin Noreen, who replaced Murray after the three-point play, left the game a few minutes later after rolling his ankle. He came back to the bench to start the second half, but didn't get into the game.
Before that, though, WVU started to take control with a prolonged run that started with a 3-pointer by Henderson. Those were the first of 10 unanswered points and WVU managed to right wrongs. Henderson missed a fast break layup and Browne missed the put back on the other side, but Murray swooped in and dunked the third shot, which rattled around and fell through the hoop.
That made it a 22-15 game and the lead reached double figures for the first time on two free throws by Staten. That was in the middle of a stretch where he had eight of 10 WVU points and assisted on the other basket.
That was a layup by Aaron Brown, his first basket of the season after starting 0-for-9. The Mountaineers finished the half leading 48-31 and made 14 layups or dunks on 22 attempts. They were 5-for-16 on jumpers.