MORGANTOWN -- Many of the 6,252 who sneaked inside the Coliseum Monday night to watch West Virginia beat Tennessee Tech will remember the 3-pointers Paul Williamson made on consecutive possessions in the first half.
That was the thrill in a game that didn't produce many others. That's what the freshman walk-on from Logan High School does and why he's 7-for-10 in 47 minutes of seven games this season.
What really got the Mountaineers going in the 72-53 win were his two assists to teammate Kevin Jones for easy inside baskets.
The Mountaineers were stuck on offense and guilty of not sharing the ball against the Tennessee Tech zone. Coach Bob Huggins put Williamson into the game with 11:06 to go in the first half and WVU ahead 12-10.
Williams had his baskets early and then his assists late in a 13-3 run that helped WVU (8-2) win its fourth consecutive game and move to 2-0 in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
"I really believe it did," Williamson said. "The one thing Coach Huggins stresses is moving the ball, especially against a zone defense. When you move the ball and they're running around hectically, they're not going to be able to match up and get everyone in line where they're supposed to be."
Williamson made his first - and only - two shots and got the attention of the Golden Eagles defense. He was pressured the next time he got the ball, but he patiently dribbled left while Jones got open and then skipped a pass inside so Jones could turn and score. A while later, the ball wound up with Williamson in the corner and the defense found him, but that left Jones some space that Williamson exploited.
Not long after that, Williamson dove to steal a ball and then flicked it ahead to Truck Bryant to start a fast break. Bryant was fouled, but made two free throws. Near the end of the first half, Williamson found Jones on the right baseline in one of his favorite spots for a third assist and a third simple basket.
For a team that struggles to find easy scores, Williamson gave WVU 14 rather easy points as it took a 33-26 lead at the half.
"We needed Paul and we're going to keep needing Paul," Jones said. "He's a guy that can come in and make shots and spread out the defense for you. When he makes shots, guys run out on him and he knows to dish it to other teammates and get them scores. He's going to be a big part of the team."
Williamson played 11 minutes in the first half and had his only errors on defense, when he was beaten on back-cuts on back-to-back possessions late in the first half.
"Seemingly so did everyone else," said Huggins, who thought he played Williamson too much in the first half and who saw his players let opponents cut behind them and toward the basket throughout the game.