Tuesday, January 24, 2017

WVU upends Stetson in first game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational

Devin Williams (41) (Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

Devin Williams (41)
(Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va–Devin Williams recorded his third straight double-double as the West Virginia Mountaineers overpowered the Stetson Hatters 103-62 on Friday night at the Coliseum in the first game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.

Williams tallied 23 points and 10 rebounds for his 20th career double-double. Jaysean Paige had 19 points. Elijah Macon scored a career-high 18 points. Daxter Miles Jr. added 13 and Esa Ahmad 11.

Tarik Phillip only scored four points, but the junior dished out 10 assists.

“We didn’t come out to play, we had a really bad practice yesterday and this group generally doesn’t have bad practices,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “I didn’t really do much to change the thought process. I let them go for a while. I don’t think we played very well. We turned it over and missed free throws. Generally, that’s a good sign that you’re not ready to play. We knew they weren’t pressuring us, we were just lackadaisical.”

WVU came out firing in the second half, going on an 8-2 run in the first two minutes.

Esa Ahmad received a lobbed pass from Miles, Ahmad slammed it through the hoop to complete the alley-oop with 17:12 to play.

Macon scored 11 of his 18 points in the second half. He grabbed five rebounds and never missed a free throw.

WVU came out sluggish in the start of the first half, turning the ball over, committing fouls and missing shots.

Elijah Macon (45) and Brandon Watkins walk off the court after a WVU win  (Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

Elijah Macon (45) and Brandon Watkins walk off the court after a WVU win
(Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

Stetson jumped in front of WVU by eight points with 10:13 remaining in the first half before the Mountaineers started to chip away at the Hatters’ lead.

It wasn’t until an 11-3 run and a hot hand from Macon that the Mountaineers got going.

Macon slammed one home to tie the game 26-all with 6:22 to go in the half.

The sophomore forward gave the Mountaineers a 29-27 lead after completing a 3-point play with 5:42 left in half.

Stetson would tie it one last time, but Paige, Macon and Phillip answered with six straight points.

Phillip put WVU ahead 33-29 with 5:19 to go in the first.

The Mountaineers finished the half on a 15-2 run topped off by a Miles’ 3-pointer. The Mountaineers took a 51-35 lead into the locker room.

Leo Goodman led the Hatters with 14 points. Derick Newton added 12.

Stetson’s Drew Romich fouled out with 4:58 to go in the first half.

It was the second time this season the Mountaineers hit the century mark on the scoreboard.

WVU shot 57 percent from the field while the Hatters shot just 31 percent.

WVU forced 19 turnovers in the first but the Mountaineers committed 18 turnovers.

WVU will play Bethune-Cookman on Monday at the Coliseum at 7 p.m. in the second game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational before the team heads to Las Vegas.

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