MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Daxter Miles Jr.’s 3-point brigade powered No. 15 West Virginia University past Virginia Military Institute 90-55 on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum.
Miles scored 20 points and connected on 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Brandon Watkins notched his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Esa Ahmad had 12 points for the Mountaineers (8-1).
QJ Peterson was the only Keydet in double-figure scoring with 17 points. Julian Eleby added nine.
VMI (1-7) handled WVU’s defense for a portion of the game until the Mountaineers’ wore the Keydets down.
“Lackluster might be the word,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “Historically, when guys fumble balls, miss free throws it is lack of focus. I didn’t think we came out with much focus. I thought we were just going through the motions and generally when that happens you miss free throws and fumble balls. We missed eight layups the first half, not just layups but point-blank shots.”
“Press Virginia” forced 22 turnovers and had 10 steals.
WVU’s bench continued to flourish, scoring 44 points.
Watkins blocked a shot on the defensive end moments before slamming in the rebound on a Tarik Phillip miss to give the Mountaineers a 14-3 lead with 14:06 left in the half.
Carter dished a pass to Adrian, who ended an 11-0 VMI run and gave WVU a 24-17 lead with 6:53 remaining in the first.
Tarik Phillip’s jumper with 1:17 remaining gave the Mountaineers a 38-25 lead at the half.
WVU shot 44 percent from the floor and made 10-of-19 from 3-point range. The Mountaineers shot an abysmal 26-of-42 from the free throw line.
VMI shot 35 percent from the field and 32 percent from beyond the arc.
WVU’s win marked the 799th career win for Huggins.
James “Beetle” Bolden had nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point land.
“You look at him compared to JC (Jevon Carter), Dax and Tarik and he doesn’t have the physicality that those guys have,” Huggins said. “He is quick and athletic and can make shots, he just has to continue to work and get stronger.”
The Mountaineers next game is on Saturday, December 17 against Missouri-Kansas City. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.