The No. 3 seed West Virginia Mountaineers will meet No. 11 seed Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday after West Virginia’s impressive win against Morehead State.
West Virginia (19-9, 11-5 Big 12) was in an early battle with Morehead State on Friday night, but by the 16-minute mark in the second half, WVU had the game in hand. Over a span of six minutes, the Mountaineers went on a 15-4 run to blow the game open.
In the end, West Virginia cruised to an 84-67 victory after shooting 55% from the field in the second half. Sophomore guard Miles McBride led all scorers with 30 points after shooting 11-of-17 from the field.
Junior forward Derek Culver struggled in the first half with just two points but broke out in the second half to finish with 12 points for the game.
As the No. 11 seed, Syracuse (17-9, 9-7 ACC) faced San Diego State in the first round on Friday night. The Orange dominated from start to finish to upset the Aztecs, 78-62.
For the game, Syracuse trailed for less than six minutes of game time. As a team, Syracuse shot 55% from the field and an outstanding 15-of-27 (56%) from three-point range.
Three players scored in double-digits for the Orange with Buddy Boeheim leading the way. Boeheim scored 30 points — 7-of-10 from three-point range — Joseph Girard put up 12 points and Marek Dolezaj added 11.
West Virginia has had its continuous struggles on the defensive end and those struggles continued in three-point defense against Morehead State. Morehead State typically shoots 35% from behind the arc, but against the Mountaineers, the Eagles exploded. West Virginia allowed the Eagles to shoot 10-of-19 (53%) from three-point range.
Syracuse shoots 35% per game from three-point range and 44% from the floor.
WVU head coach Bob Huggins said that Syracuse’s zone defense is the most memorable thing when facing the Orange.
“Obviously, their zone,” Huggins said. “He (Jim Boeheim) does such a great job of changing it up and when you start to attack a certain area, he does a great job of making defensive adjustments.”
Once a regular season matchup in the Big East, West Virginia has not played against Syracuse since the 2011-12 season when it lost, 63-61, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. Overall, West Virginia is 16-34 all-time against Syracuse. In the last 15 meetings, West Virginia is 2-13, with wins in 2001 and 2008.
Tipoff is set for 5:15 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. The game will be nationally televised on CBS.