MORGANTOWN - Deniz Kilicli and the Mountaineers basketball team opened up the season with a 95-53 exhibition victory over Glenville State.
West Virginia showed fans their team is prepared to open their first regular season in the Big 12 Conference. This team lost the opening exhibition game a year ago, something the players ensured would not happen again.
However, head coach Bob Huggins wasn't happy with his teams performance.
"I have some guys if they can't play harder than they did today, I really don't need them to play," said Huggins. "We talked about supposedly growing up. If they haven't grown up by now, they're not going to grow up."
Deniz Kilicli led the way for the team as he consistently fought his way inside, grabbed rebounds, and put the ball through the hoop. He finished with 19 points and three rebounds in just 17 minutes of play.
The Mountaineers took an early 6-0 lead, and never lost their footing. They held that lead throughout the game never giving the Pioneers a taste of comfort. Four points early in the game was the closest point differential of the game.
Offensive rebounds played a big part of WVU's success. The team was able to haul in 17 offensive boards throughout the game.
West Virginia's defense consisted of very aggressive pressure ranging out to the three point line. Glenville State couldn't handle the defensive scheme from WVU as it led to 25 turnovers, in which the Mountaineers grabbed 31 points off of.
At halftime, West Virginia had a 48-22 lead. Scoring in the second half was much closer.
Transfers Aaric Murray, Juwan Staten, and Matt Humphrey all saw their first action in the all-white West Virginia jerseys.
Murray had a game-high nine rebounds, as he added 13 points. Staten finished with the second most points in the night. The point guard from Dayton finished with 16 points and six assists, the most on the team. And the high profile shooter that is Humphrey managed four points on two-of-eight shooting.
If there was one positive thing Huggins took away from the game, it was the play of Staten.
"I thought Juwan was good. I thought he really tried to run the team, do the right things," said Huggins.
The three point shooting was controlled by the Pioneers throughout the game. West Virginia shot 7.1% from beyond the arc. Glenville State was able to shoot 27.3% from three point range.
Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, this game won't go towards the win-loss column.
The beginning of counted games starts in less than one week. Point guard Juwan Staten believes this team will be ready for whatever is thrown at them.
"I know we'll be able to go deep," said Staten. "As long as we play hard, we'll be able to play deep, play ten players and keep the intensity up."
The Mountaineers basketball team will officially open the season Monday night, November 12, at 11:59 p.m. when they face No. 21 Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington.