MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Esa Ahmad scored 19 points and No.25 West Virginia University pummeled Manhattan 108-61 in the final game of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Monday at the Coliseum.
The story of the night was the Mountaineers’ fiery pressure defense. WVU forced a school record 40 turnovers, which led to 46 points.
Press Virginia had 18 steals and was too much for the Jaspers (2-4).
“We took better care of the ball,” head coach Bob Huggins said.”But we have a long way to go. I thought we we did a better job of getting the ball to people who were open for the most part. We’ve had guys open, we just haven’t delivered the ball. It makes it hard that way.”
Nathan Adrian tallied 15 points, scoring in double digits in his sixth straight contest. Daxter Miles Jr. had 11 points and James Long had 10.
The Mountaineers (5-1) had 15 players see action and all 15 got in on the scoring frenzy.
WVU began the game with an 8-0 run but Manhattan kept clawing at the Mountaineers and the two teams exchanged baskets for the better part of the first half.
Long dropped a 3 at the buzzer, capping a 22-5 run and to giving WVU a 60-27 lead at the half.
The Mountaineers’ bench scored 62 points.
WVU shot 47.3 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers made 30-of-43 from the charity stripe.
The Jaspers shot 38.6 percent from the field and made 6-of-22 from 3-point range. Manhattan shot 57.9 percent from the free throw line.
Zavier Peart was the only player in double figures for the Jaspers. He scored 11 points.
WVU will take on the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va.
Cover Photo Credit: All-Pro Photography/ Dale Sparks/ wvusports.com