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West Virginia downs Grand Canyon in CBI opener, advances to quarterfinals

The Mountaineers will move on to face Coastal Carolina next Monday.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia (15-20) is moving on to the quarterfinal round of the College Basketball Invitational after a strong second-half showing lifted the Mountaineers over the Grand Canyon Antelopes, 77-63, tonight in the WVU Coliseum.

Grand Canyon opened up a 7 point lead in the first half as the Mountaineers struggled offensively to start the game. Moments later, a Jermaine Haley jumper sparked a 9-0 run to put West Virginia in the lead. The two teams battled back-and-forth for the rest of the half, but the Mountaineers would take a 36-32 halftime lead after Haley scored the team’s final six points of the first half.

The Antelopes threatened West Virginia’s lead early in the second half, eventually taking a 2 point lead with 9:40 remaining. The Mountaineers would answer with a 20-2 run over the next four and a half minutes to take an 18 point lead to ice the game with under four minutes remaining.

Haley led all scorers with 24 points. Emmitt Matthews Jr. and Lamont West each scored 11 points, while Chase Harler added 10 points from the bench. Derek Culver had 7 points, 10 rebounds. Jordan McCabe finished with 5 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

The Mountaineers will face Coastal Carolina next Monday in the quarterfinal round. Start time will be announced later.