5 players score in double figures as West Virginia uses its depth in win
Published: Sunday, November 7, 2010
Updated: Sunday, November 7, 2010 22:11
Jonnie West returned for his senior year to have games like this.
The guard, who rejoined the West Virginia basketball team less than a month ago, scored a game-high 15 points – all of which came on 3-pointers – to lead the Mountaineers to an 87-53 victory over UNC Pembroke in WVU's only scrimmage of the preseason.
West had five of the team's 11 shots from beyond the arc in the game, and 12 of the senior's points came in the second half.
"Jonnie loves this University. It didn't take a whole lot of convincing to have him come back out," said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. "He shot it really well in practice. He's playing with a lot more confidence right now."
West was part of a second group that Huggins rotated in-and-out with the starters roughly every five minutes in the first half to assure players received enough playing time.
West Virginia's starting lineup, which consisted of Truck Bryant, Dalton Pepper, Deniz Kilicli, Kevin Jones and John Flowers, averaged 21 minutes in the game.
Six other Mountaineers saw over 10 minutes of action, including Kevin Noreen – the Mountaineers' only active freshman on scholarship and the team's 11th man off the bench – who played 11 minutes and finished 0-for-1 from the field.
Yet, despite the game only being a preseason exhibition, Huggins wasn't shy about challenging the officials or his players, even with WVU being up by as many as 31 with less than five minutes remaining in the game.
"I just can't watch guys not play hard. It drives me insane," Huggins said. "I was OK until we stopped playing. We have a lot of good people on this team, but sometimes good people need kicked in the pants."
The Mountaineers were up 22 points at the half, 49-27, after a Casey Mitchell 3-pointer from the right corner with five seconds remaining before halftime. Mitchell finished with 11 points, all of which came in the opening frame, including two shots from beyond the arc.
Kevin Jones, John Flowers and Deniz Kilicli also reached double-figure scoring for West Virginia, while Jones added a game-high 10 rebounds.
"It was the first game – everyone wanted to prove something," Kilicli said. "But we kind of done stuff we shouldn't have done like forget plays. It was a scrimmage for us, but there's things we need to take care of."
Mitchell's 3-pointer with 13:59 left in the first half put West Virginia up 16-0, while WVU extended its lead to 19-1 a minute later when West hit a 3-pointer.
The Mountaineers shot 48.6 percent from the field in the first half, but just 34.2 percent after the half while outrebounding UNC-Pembroke 51-34.
"It was better than expected," Mazzulla said of the team's offense. "We just have to do a better job of anticipating and seeing things that are there away from the ball. It comes with time, and it comes with getting five guys out there who know what they're doing."
West Virginia opens its regular season Friday against Oakland.