CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Kevin Jones scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead West Virginia to an 83-48 victory over Morehead State Tuesday night at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, W.Va.
It was Jones’ third 20-point game this season and the seventh of his career. It was also the senior’s 15th double-double as a Moutaineer player.
After trailing 4-3 early, the Mountaineers used a 17-0 run during a four-minute span to take control of the game, West Virginia getting points from four different players during the run.
An Aaron Brown 3 from the corner gave the Mountaineers a 23-6 lead, and the margin swelled to 19, 30-11, with 8:16 left in the first half on another 3, this one by Jones from the corner.
“We took better care of the ball and our spacing was so much better,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “We looked up the floor better.”
The Mountaineers led 39-22 at halftime.
West Virginia (3-1) then used a 13-2 run at the start of the second half to turn the game into a rout. Huggins substituted freely as the margin grew to more than 30, getting to as high as 37 points with 3:07 to go.
That came when freshman walk-on Paul Williamson knocked down a 3 from the corner. The Logan native hit another from the corner with 47 seconds remaining.
Truck Bryant added 14 points while Deniz Kilicli and Gary Browne scored 10 points each.
Overall, Huggins thought his young players made some progress this evening.
“Our rotations were better. They recognized what we were trying to do and we were much better against pressure,” said Huggins.
Huggins believes the fact that his young team is seeing so much pressure early this year is helping them deal with it.
“We have practiced it. We probably went with just doing the dummy stuff to get them to understand where to go to where it is becoming second nature to them,” said Huggins. “We break it all down and then we put it all back together when we go five on five. I think we spent 25-30 minutes on it today.”
West Virginia shot 52.8 percent from the floor and had a 40-22 advantage on the glass. The Mountaineers had 19 assists and only 14 turnovers despite facing full-court pressure throughout the game.
“We knew they were going to pressure the whole game and we usually have some dumb attacks where we just stand and they really don’t play,” said Huggins. “I think the hardest thing to do is to get guys to play through every possession and not take time off. I think we’re getting better.”
The only negative was 12 missed free throws – all in the first half. West Virginia finished the game 19 of 31 from the line.
“We chart free throws,” said Huggins. “They make a minimum of 50 free throws in practice and I get what they make. And we don’t have anybody shooting less than 75 percent in practice. It’s kind of like getting the measles, it just spreads.”
Morehead State, now 1-3, got half of its points (24) from Terrance Hill. The Eagles committed 23 turnovers.
Attendance for tonight’s game was announced as 10,122.
“I’m the one who said we need to play a couple of games here,” said Huggins. “And I’m not sure maybe we should play here more.”
West Virginia has six days before beginning a difficult stretch of non-conference games beginning with Akron at the WVU Coliseum next Monday night.
Then the Mountaineers go on the road to play at Mississippi State on Dec. 3, followed by back-to-back games against Kansas State and Miami.
“We need to continue to get better,” said Huggins. “We’ve got a heck of a stretch coming up. Akron’s good and then we’ve got a stretch of games that we need to win.”