Juwan Staten and Gary Browne led the No. 17 Mountaineers past Virginia Tech 82-51 in the Black Diamond Challenge in front of a sold out Coliseum on Tuesday afternoon.
With the win, the Mountaineers were able to avenge last season’s disappointing loss.
“Our whole thing is attitude and effort,” said head coach Bob Huggins. “Our guys have had a terrific attitude and they’ve given a terrific effort. If we don’t have that attitude and effort then we’re not very good because we’re not a highly skilled team.”
Staten scored 18 points, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. Browne added 12 points shooting 4 of 6 from the floor and made both of his 3-point shots.
Devin Williams finished one point short of a double-double, grabbing 11 rebounds.
Adam Smith and Satchel Pierce led Virginia Tech (8-5) with 10 points each.
West Virginia led the Hokies 33-30 at halftime despite shooting 38 percent from the field. Tech shot 55 percent from the field in the first half but committed 12 turnovers and were outrebounded 19-12.
Browne and the Mountaineers got red-hot in the second half. Browne nailed a 3-pointer 2:54 into the half. Seconds later a steal by Daxter Miles Jr. set Browne up for a layup to give West Virginia a 42-32 lead, which they never relinquished.
West Virginia knocked down five of their first six attempts from beyond the line after the half and led 57-39 with 11:36 left. They finished 10 of 24 from 3-point range.
The Mountaineers smothering press defense held the Hokies to just 21 points in the second half on 39 percent shooting.
West Virginia had 16 steals and forced 25 turnovers. This marks the 13th straight game the Mountaineers have had 10 or more takeaways.
Twelve different players scored, seven different players made 3s for the gold and blue. Nathan Adrian had his best performance of the season, scoring nine points.
The Mountaineers finished non-conference play with a record of 12-1, which is its best start since 2009-2010 when West Virginia reached the final four.
“This is the big time stretch about to come up,” said freshman Miles. “So this is where we really get to see what we are made of, said freshman guard Miles.
West Virginia will open conference play on Saturday afternoon against unbeaten TCU in Fort Worth. The improved Horned Frogs had a weak out of conference schedule but should provide a challenge for the Mountaineers.