MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Eron Harris
scored 19 points and Juwan Staten
added 16 to lead West Virginia to an 88-55 victory Saturday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum in game two of the Cancun Challenge.
“We played OK,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “I told them from the time we started preparing for this game that today’s game was about us and us getting better. It was more a question of what we get out of this game.”
On Thursday night, the Mountaineers blew out Georgia Southern, 101-68, in the first of four games for the tournament.
West Virginia will face Old Dominion on Tuesday evening in Cancun, Mexico and then will play either Wisconsin or St. Louis on Wednesday. Both games will be televised on the CBS College Sports Network.
Today, the Mountaineers jumped out to a big lead and cruised to their third straight double-digit victory after falling at Virginia Tech, 87-82, on Nov. 12.
West Virginia (4-1) shot a shade below 50 percent this afternoon, hitting 31 of 63 for 49.2 percent, but 11 of its 31 field goals came from 3 with junior Remi Dibo leading the way with four triples. Harris had three and freshman Nathan Adrian
hit two 3s.
Dibo finished with 14 points off the bench, while freshman Devin Williams
produced his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. WVU had a 40-28 advantage on the glass and handed out 18 assists.
Staten continued his exceptional early season play by going 7 of 10 from the floor while adding seven assists today. In five games this year Staten is averaging 19.2 points and 7.6 assists per game.
“He would pull up to shoot that jump shot before and people were saying ‘oh no.’ And I was one of them, but he’s put in a bunch of work and he makes that very consistently now, which means now we can ball screen with him,” said Huggins. “I used to say we can’t ball screen because we don’t have anybody to come off the ball screen and he can do that now. The ball screen has become a weapon for us.”
Perhaps the biggest thing that came out of today’s game was West Virginia’s usage of some half-court trapping and some 1-3-1 zone, which Huggins will likely continue to use down in Mexico.
“I think we learned some things in the half court pressure stuff that we’re trying to do,” said Huggins. “We wanted to speed them up because they wanted to try and make the game kind of a slow, boring game. I thought it did that for us.”
Jordan Downing led Presbyterian, now 1-5, with 18 points.
West Virginia will depart Sunday for Cancun.