Seven Mountaineers score in double figures as West Virginia routs VMI in home opener
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 05:11
Juwan Staten scored a game-high 18 points Wednesday night to lead seven Mountaineers in double figures as the West Virginia men’s basketball team routed Virginia Military Institute 94-69 in the Mountaineers’ home opener at the WVU Coliseum.
Staten shot 70 percent from the field and made all four of his free-throw attempts. The sophomore transfer guard also grabbed seven rebounds to go along with three assists.
"He played a lot better," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins of Staten. "He pushed the ball, which we need him to, to get us easy opportunities. I think he did more than push it; he looked up the floor better. He made his rotations and got his hands on some balls. He was also better at the defensive end."
Sophomore forward Keaton Miles scored a career-high 11 points off the bench, senior Deniz Kilicili chipped in 13, sophomore guard Gary Brown scored 11, and freshman guards Terry Henderson and Eron Harris each tallied 10 in the 48th all-time meeting between the WVU and VMI.
West Virginia got a season-high 36 points from its bench.
"We got points in a lot of different ways," Staten said after the game. "One thing Coach was happy with was that we created a lot of turnovers, which led to some offense. When you’re scoring, the biggest thing is to just see the ball go in the rim. Once you get a couple easy baskets, it’s easy to make shots."
Center Aaric Murray rounded out West Virginia’s scorers in double figures. The junior, also a transfer, narrowly missed his first double-double as a Mountaineer, as he put up 13 points and game-high nine rebounds, which loomed even bigger after both Dominique Rutledge and Kevin Noreen left with sprained ankles early in the first half, and Kilicli got into early foul trouble yet again.
Murray and Staten both credited their familiarity with each other as part of the reason for their combined success Wednesday night.
"Last year, with us not playing, we spent a lot of time together on the scout team," Staten said. "We were roommates, so we got to learn about each other a little bit off the court, too.
"Now, whenever I’m driving, he knows to keep his hands ready, be ready for the ball, and when he grabs rebounds, he knows that I’m the first one out and to look up for the outlet pass, so that’s kind of something that we’ve worked on – being together for the last year."
Stan Okyoke had 14points, all in the first half, to lead VMI. D.J. Covington added 12 for the Keydets, and Tim Marshall scored 11.
VMI actually raced out to an early 11-6 lead over the games’ first 3:05, but the Mountaineers responded by outscoring the Keydets 42-20 during the next 16:55 to take a 17-point lead heading into the half.
West Virginia quickly pushed the advantage past 20 in the early minutes of the second half, also outscoring VMI 46-38 in the second half of play.
With the win, the Mountaineers improved to 95-9 all-time in season openers, and they are now 61-3 at home against nonconference teams since 2003.
West Virginia outrebounded VMI 52-44, which doesn’t initially seem like a huge difference, but the margin eventually helped the Mountaineers control another important category: second-chance points. West Virginia scored 25 second-chance points, as compared to just five for VMI.
West Virginia also changed a season-long trend in regards to its free-throw shooting Wednesday night. The Mountaineers, who came into the game shooting just 66 percent from the charity stripe, made 17 of 21 against VMI, including their first 13 in a row.