MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Devin Williams scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed nine boards as the 20th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers overcome sloppy play to defeat Kennesaw State 87-54 on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum.
Brandon Watkins made his debut against the Owls after missing the first month of the season while recovering from off-season knee surgery. The sophomore scored six points and grabbed six boards.
“I thought he made a great block down there,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “I think the replay verified that. He gives us a presence around the rim that we don’t have without him. He has been better with scoring around the goal.”
The Owls just didn’t have the size to contain Williams and the Mountaineers.
“Press Virginia” once again proved deadly for their opponent. The Mountaineers forced 31 turnovers and had 13 steals.
“The coaches say all the time and they are right, that the press doesn’t work unless all five guys buy in and the energy level is up,” Miles said. “It’s about effort. Sometimes your shots might not be falling and some might not be going hard on offense, but you can make it up on defense.”
The first half was messy for both teams. WVU turned the ball over 11 times and Kennesaw State had 19 turnovers.
The Mountaineers went on an 11-2 run to take a 19-5 lead over the Owls with 11:04 left in the first half.
WVU led 41-24 at the half. The Mountaineers are 140-25 under coach Huggins when leading at halftime.
WVU held Kennesaw State to just to just nine field goals in the first half and 10 in the second.
The Mountaineers are 7-0 for the second straight year. Last season LSU ended the Mountaineers’ winning streak.
Kendrick Ray led the Owls with 23 points and six rebounds. Yonel Brown added 14.
This was the first meeting between WVU and the Owls.
The Mountaineers will travel to New York City to take on No. 10 Virginia on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in the Jimmy V Classic. The game will be televised on ESPN.
The Cavaliers (6-1) defeated William & Mary 67-52 on Saturday afternoon.