West Virginia erased a shaky first half with an 18-0 run out of halftime before cruising to beat the Missouri Tigers, 74-51.
Early on the game looked like it might be a repeat of Monday night. Missouri hit just 2 of their first 18 shots and the Mountaineers held a 20-4 lead after just 6 minutes. Unfortunately West Virginia went ice cold around the 10-minute mark, and once some shots started falling for Missouri they were able to close the gap quickly. Sloppy Mountaineer turnovers further exacerbated the situation, and halftime the lead had been cut to 1.
However, West Virginia's characteristically suffocating defense and a steady diet of Tshiebwe and Culver overwhelmed Missouri out of the break. The Tigers scored just 6 points in the half's first 8 minutes, and West Virginia had regained a comfortable 20-point margin by the 12 minute media timeout. Missouri continued to crumble under the relentless pressure, and some hot shooting from Taz Sherman and pushed the lead to 58-33 by the 7:12 mark.
Though West Virginia ultimately fell short of the 32-point margin needed to take football/basketball series on the aggregate, Missouri never got closer than 21 the rest of the way. The Spencer Macke victory cigar was sparked with around 2 minutes to go, and Macke gave the fans the encore they wanted by banking in a 3 and nearly hitting a nifty floater.
The story, as it's been so many times this year, was the Mountaineers' physicality on both ends of the court. Missouri managed to make just 15 of their 53 field goal attempts (28%, 15th time in 19 games we've held our opponents under 40%) and were outrebounded by 22, including a ridiculous +13 margin for West Virginia on the offensive end.
Oscar Tshiebwe led the way, falling just short of a double-double with a 14-point, 8 rebound performance. Jermaine Haley continued his strong start to the New Year with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Deuce McBride chipped in with 15 points of his own, marking the 9th time in 10 games that the freshman has hit double-digits. Derek Culver and Gabe Osabouhien were both massive on the glass, securing 11 and 12 rebounds, respectively.
The Mountaineers head to Lubbock on Wednesday for the return game against a Texas Tech team that they beat by 12 on January 11th. That game tips at 8pm and will be televised on ESPN+.