Hinds’ 19 points leads West Virginia over Akron 77-56
Published: Monday, November 28, 2011
Updated: Monday, November 28, 2011 23:11
A first-half technical foul by West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins energized the Mountaineers to a 77-56 victory over Akron Monday night.
Huggins picked up his first technical of the year at the 4:32 mark of the first half and the Mountaineers led Akron just 24-16.
After Akron guard Brian Walsh missed both free throws, West Virginia (4-1) finished the half on a 19-2 run to take a 43-20 lead into the break. It was fueled by Jabarie Hinds, who scored 15 first-half points.
Hinds finished as West Virginia's leading scorer with a career-high 19 points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals.
"It felt really good. I took whatever they gave me," Hinds said of his performance. "We just turned it up on defense. I was being way more aggressive (after Huggins' technical foul)."
Huggins said Hinds reminds him of his former player at Cincinnati, Nick Van Exel.
"He's got really good lateral quickness," Huggins said. "You think he's going forward and he's going backwards, and you think he's going backwards and he goes forward."
West Virginia had three other players in double-figure scoring. Kevin Jones finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth consecutive double-double. Truck Bryant finished with 11 points and four assists. Deniz Kilicli also finished with 11 points and four rebounds.
"(Huggins) told us to take them out of what they wanted to run," Jones said. "We forced a lot of turnovers and got some easy brackets in transition."
The Zips (3-3) didn't have a field goal in the final 9:27 of the first half. It committed 10 first half turnovers and shot only 26.9 percent from the field in the first half.
West Virginia and Akron were close for much of the first half until the Mountaineers were able to go on their big run.
But the Zips weren't able to manufacture a comeback in the second half. Akron cut the Mountaineer lead to 16 at the 8:46 mark, but that was as close as it would get.
Still, West Virginia wasn't thrilled with its second-half performance.
"We need to put teams away," Bryant said. "We need to find a way to get it to 40."
Huggins was disappointed with the way some of his team played late in the game after having a big second-half lead.
"Everyone says let them play through their mistakes. That's ridiculous," he said.
"We're not going to do that."
Akron shot just 43.4 percent in the second half and finished just 35.7 percent in the game. The Zips struggled from 3-point range going 2-for-13.
The Mountaineers struggled from the free-throw line for the second consecutive game, shooting just 14-of-27. The team shot 3-of-14 from the 3-point arc.
"Bottom line is you can't continue to brick free throws and miss wide-open shots and be consistent on offense," Huggins said.