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No. 11 WVU blasts No. 19 Richmond with season-high output, 87-71

Steals and sublime shooting set an exciting tone in Morgantown on Sunday.

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

Despite playing a physical game just two days ago, West Virginia men’s basketball exploded for its highest point total this season in an 87-71 win over No. 19 Richmond at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown on Sunday.

Miles McBride, the sophomore guard, poured in 20 points, most in the first half, to lead all scorers, but he was not alone in the offensive production.

Four other Mountaineers contributed double-digit points, including 15 from guard Taz Sherman off the bench. Derek Culver recorded his fourth double-double of the season and second in as many games.

The Mountaineers (6-1) shot 58.1 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from three. The worst shooting percentage was from the foul line, where the Mountaineers made 53.8 percent of their free throws. The Spiders (4-1), on the other hand, shot well below their season average, just 40.4 percent.

The game started with both teams trading buckets for the first seven minutes as Richmond’s fast-moving and cutting offense gave the Mountaineers trouble early. WVU’s defense adjusted before the 12-minute mark and spurred the offense the rest of the half.

Led by 16 first-half points from McBride, the Mountaineers orchestrated a 22-8 run to close out the half and take a 52-30 lead to the locker room.

WVU thieved Richmond eight times in the first half and turned those into 15 points.

Maybe a little bit of Press Virginia?

But most importantly, Big O dunked the ball.

WVU shot 65.7 percent from the field and drained six of nine three-point attempts. Richmond shot 43.3 percent, a bit below their average pace on the season (49 percent), but was 1-8 from behind the arc.

Not skipping a beat on offense, the Mountaineers made their first four shots, including a steal and dunk by Culver. WVU increased its lead to 26 points at the under-16 break, 63-37.

Even though Richmond sputtered through mini runs throughout the second half, the Spiders never came closer than 16 points.

Freshman forward Taj Thweatt recorded his first-ever points in the Old Gold and Blue in the final minute of the game, the proverbial cherry on top.

With all that was good for WVU, one stat needs to be discussed: the Mountaineers nabbed just five offensive rebounds. Sure, when you shoot at such a high percentage, rebound attempts are few but Huggins may not be happy about leaving some second-chance points on the court.

WVU now turns its attention to Big 12 play as Iowa State comes to Morgantown on Friday, Dec. 18.