WVU basketball gets back on track

The West Virginia men’s basketball team got back to its winning ways in grand fashion on Sunday.

Less than a week removed from their first loss of the season, the Mountaineers bounced back in a big way with a 100-58 win over visiting Louisiana-Monroe. It was the third time WVU has eclipsed 100 points in a game this season. It topped Northern Kentucky, 107-61, in the regular season opener on Nov. 13 and the Mountaineers earned a 103-62 win over Stetson on Nov. 20.

The Mountaineers also had a 114-76 win over Glenville State in an exhibition game.

“I thought we played pretty well in the first half,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “I thought we were getting to the ball better. I thought we were covering people a lot better and we took them out of what they wanted to run, which really what our goal is, and we finally made some shots.”

West Virginia shot 45.2-percent from the floor on Sunday. It was a vast improvement over the 40-percent output the Mountaineers put up against Virginia at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 8. The Mountainners shot just 30-percent (6 of 20) in the second half in that game.

In the first half against Louisiana-Monroe, WVU was at 47.8-percent.

Maybe it was some extra time in the gym, or just getting back to the familiarity of the WVU Coliseum, but the Mountaineers seem to have a renewed offense.

That offensive scheme stems from point guard Jevon Carter.

Dec 13, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; Louisiana Monroe Warhawks forward DeMondre Harvey (2) is guarded by West Virginia Mountaineers guard Jevon Carter (2) during the second half at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

After riding the bench for most of the second half against Virginia, Carter led all scorers with 21 points on Sunday. As the Mountaineers led by 33 at halftime (59-26), Carter scored 12-straight points to close out the second half.

He connected on four 3-pointers in the game.

“We knew they were going to come out playing zone, so we were ready for it,” Carter said of ULM’s 2-3 zone,”
It was the first time the Mountaineers have seen a full zone all season. It seemed to play into the Mountaineers’ hands quite well as they created 19 assists and Louisiana-Monroe had just two steals. WVU worked the perimeter game well, connecting on 41.7-percent of 3-point attempts. The Mountaineers also worked their bread-and-butter of an inside game with 42 points in the paint Devin Williams added 12 points and grabbed 10 of the team’s 48 rebounds.
Louisiana-Monroe had just 28 rebounds.
While this game wasn’t much of a test, as the Warhawks were just 4-4 coming into the game, it certainly helps the Mountaineers’ confidence. They are now 8-1 on the year and have outscored opponents by an average of 32 points per game in their wins.
Confidence is key as the Mountaineers remain in-state, but head on the road on Thursday. In the annual Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic in Charleston, WVU takes on rival Marshall. The Thundering Herd have not defeated the Mountaineers since 2010.