The No. 3 seed West Virginia men’s basketball team defeated the No. 14 seed Morehead State Eagles, 84-67, to advance to the second round in the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.
With the victory, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins became the sixth head coach all-time in Division I men’s basketball to reach 900 career victories.
West Virginia (19-9, 11-5 Big 12) began the game in dominant fashion as it led, 17-6, less than seven minutes into the first half. Following a timeout, Morehead State (23-8, 17-3 OVC) retaliated with an 11-0 run to erase West Virginia’s lead and tie the game at 17.
With 7:23 remaining in the half, Morehead State took its final lead of the first half at 23-22. To close out the first half, WVU outscored the Eagles, 16-8, to lead, 38-31, at halftime.
To begin the second half, it was all Morehead State as once again, it erased a large West Virginia lead and only trailed by one before Huggins burned a timeout. Out of the timeout, WVU went on a 15-4 scoring run to put the Eagles away for the night. In one possession, sophomore guard Miles McBride scored six points with one layup and four free throws.
Morehead State kept things interesting with five three-pointers in the final 10 minutes — the Eagles shot 10-of-19 (52%) from behind the arc for the game.
Once Morehead State cut the WVU lead to one with 16:42 to play, the Mountaineers outscored the Eagles, 42-26, to finish out the game. West Virginia finished out the game with an 84-67 victory after it shot 55% from the field in the second half.
McBride led all scorers with 30 points after shooting 11-of-17 (65%) from the field. Along with McBride, three other Mountaineers scored in double-digits. Jalen Bridges added 15 points with a 6-of-8 (75%) shooting performance from the field.
Sean McNeil scored 13 points and Derek Culver put up 12 points. Culver struggled throughout the first half with just two points from the free throw line. In the second half, Culver shot 5-of-9 (56%) from the field and scored 10 points.
As a team, West Virginia shot 51% from field goal range and 9-of-18 (50%) from behind the arc.
Up next, West Virginia will face No. 11 seed Syracuse on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Tipoff is set for 5:15 p.m. on CBS at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.