Sean McNeil (22) shoots during a game against Bellarmine on Nov. 30, 2021, from the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va.

Sean McNeil (22) shoots during a game against Bellarmine on Nov. 30, 2021, from the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va.

West Virginia relied on a strong defensive performance and an excellent second half to defeat Bellarmine, 74-55. 

The West Virginia (6-1) defense held Bellarmine (3-5) to just 2-17 from behind the arc while also limiting the Knights to just 40% from the field. Bellarmine’s leading scorer on the year, Dylan Penn, was held to just (eight) points. 

Bellarmine scored 30 first half points but was limited to just 25 in the second half as the WVU defense tightened. 

The Mountaineers started the game with four fast points from Sean McNeil. Within a few minutes, the WVU lead was no more as Bellarmine took its first and only first half lead as Curt Hopf made a second-chance layup. 

West Virginia gave up seven offensive rebounds in the first half which allowed Bellarmine to score eight second-chance points. 

After relinquishing the lead, the Mountaineers responded with a 12-2 run over the next four minutes of play. 

The Mountaineers held a nine-point lead with 7:30 remaining in the first half. Over the remainder of the half, the WVU lead never shrunk below five points or above 10.

The second half was much better for WVU as it  started with a 6-1 run that gave WVU an early 14-point lead. 

A dunk from Pauly Paulicap at the 10:53 mark sparked an 11-0 run that lasted four minutes, at the end of the run, the Mountaineers held a 26-point lead. 

Other than the score, the biggest statistical difference in the game was bench points, WVU scored 28 bench points while Bellarmine scored just seven. Malik Curry was the leading bench scorer for West Virginia as the fifth-year senior scored nine.

West Virginia will have just four days off as the team hosts Radford Saturday, the game is set to start at 4 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN+.

Asst. Sports Editor

Born in Cleveland, Ohio and attending WVU, I study sports journalism. I worked with U92 sports talk radio, the WVU football team video crew. I currently write for DA sports along with co-hosting the DA sports podcast.