The Mountaineers final tune-up before heading to Las Vegas was a success as West Virginia (4-0) took care of Bethune-Cookman (2-2) by a score of 97-44 on Monday night.
Sloppy play throughout the first half (9 WVU turnovers, 17 Bethune-Cookman turnovers) kept the Wildcats in the game longer than they really should have been. The game was within single digits as late as 3:28 to go in the half when the Mountaineers led 31-22. From that point West Virginia went on a 14-0 run (with 7 of those points coming from Jaysean Paige) to end the half and take a 45-22 lead into the locker room.
The second half was just another instance of #PressVirginia wearing down a lesser opponent. West Virginia started the second half on a 19-7 run and cruised the rest of the way to the 53 point victory.
It was a complete, balanced effort tonight. Seven players scored in double-figures, led by Daxter Miles and Tarik Phillip with 14 each. Three Mountaineers had double-doubles tonight: Devin Williams with 12 and 10, Jonathan Holton with 11 and 11, and Elijah Macon (playing REALLY well) with 13 and 10 off the bench. Jevon Carter added 11 and 4 steals, and Teyvon Myers had a career high 10.
Josue Salaam led Bethune-Cookman with 12 off the bench. No Bethune-Cookman starter had double-figures.
West Virginia shot 52.2% and held Bethune-Cookman to 25%. They forced 30 Wildcat turnovers.
Some quick notes:
- Bethune-Cookman has one player on their roster over 6'7, so it's no surprise that the Mountaineers dominated the rebound battle 49-28
- Jonathan Holton made a three! 0-5 coming in tonight after going 13-64 last season.
- Devin Williams became the first Mountaineer player since Carey Bailey in 1967-68 to start a season with four straight double-doubles.
- Midway through the first half Bob Huggins inserted walk-on Richard Romeo into the lineup. He also got some PT in the second half.
- In the first half the fans in attendance in the upper deck were invited to come to the lower bowl. The attendance at the Coliseum since Huggins complained about the Charleston fans has been...pretty bad.
- The return of Brandon Watkins is closer than anyone expected two months ago. Warren Baker mentioned during the broadcast that he went to Cincinnati today to have his knee re-evaluated. A medical redshirt, once expected, now seems unlikely.
Up next for the Mountaineers is a Thanksgiving Day matchup in Las Vegas with the Richmond Spiders in the Continental Tire Invitational. The Spiders defeated Bethune-Cookman on Saturday by a score of 89-64. The game tips at 5:00 PM and will be televised by Fox Sports 1. A win Thursday would have WVU playing the winner of San Diego State and Cal for the championship on Friday night. Both the Aztecs and Golden Bears have high-level NBA prospects on their team: Malik Pope for SDSU, and Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb for Cal.