MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Jaysean Paige came off the bench and scored 17 points to help No. 19 West Virginia knock off Eastern Kentucky 84-59 on Monday night at the Coliseum.
“That’s big,” Devin Williams said about Paige’s effort. “It takes a little bit of the focus point away from me.”
Paige scored all 17 points in the first half. He was 6 of 12 from the field, including making 4 of 7 from beyond the arc.
The Mountaineers found their groove from behind the 3-point line. WVU shot 42 percent from 3-point range. Coming into the game, they had been shooting 32 percent.
The Colonels shot 39 percent from 3-point range. Prior to tonight’s game they were shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.
The Mountaineers outscored EKU 30-16 in the paint and 26-7 on second-chance points.
Javontae Hawkins tallied 16 points and Jaylen Babb-Harrison added 15 for EKU.
After making nine 3s in the first half, WVU led 50-22. But a sluggish second half once again plagued the Mountaineers.
“We make the run and then it was a very lackluster effort by us in the second half,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.
The Mountaineers started the game slow, allowing EKU to take a 14-10 lead after two free throws by Babb-Harrison. WVU then rattled off 12 consecutive points to take a 22-14 lead with 8:50 to play in the first half.
Hawkins made two baskets before the Mountaineers went on a 24-1 run.
WVU forced 18 turnovers and had 11 steals. Coming into the game, they led country in steals and forced turnovers.
The win against the Colonels was win No. 775 for Huggins. He is one shy of Cliff Ellis for 12th on the NCAA all-time wins list.
EKU was without the help of leading scorer Jarelle Reischel, who was sidelined with back spasms.
WVU will return to action on Dec. 30 when the Mountaineers take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in Blacksburg. Tip off is at noon.