West Virginia remained undefeated at home with a 74-67 win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Sunday.
It looked as though the Mountaineers (7-5) may be in for another slow start, but a 20-4 run in the first half gave them a 14-point lead. That would eventually be extended to 16. Eastern Kentucky (10-3) was never able to get any closer than within nine for the remainder of the half, and the West Virginia lead was 35-22 when they went to the locker room. It may have been a nice start to the game this time, but there was plenty of time for the Colonels to come back.
Gary Browne provided a spark in the first half, scoring eight points during that big run. Browne came in for Jabarie Hinds, who has been struggling offensively lately. Browne was the only player to score in double digits in the half. He ended up with 17 points in the game to lead the team. He also grabbed six rebounds.
The second half saw Eastern Kentucky push back, though. The team is known for shooting threes and got hot early on. The lead continued to shrink until it was erased with 4:39 remaining in the game.
The Colonels continued their run, and took a lead on the next possession. That was clearly enough to put a big scare into the Mountaineers, but West Virginia went on a 9-1 run to reestablish a lead, and held on to escape with another close win.
Free throws were a big difference down the stretch of this one. The Mountaineers hit 32 in the game, while Eastern Kentucky hit just six. Juwan Staten had nine himself to give him 17 points in the game.
Rebounding is another area that West Virginia seemed to have a big advantage coming into the game. That proved to be true. The Mountaineers out-rebounded the Colonels, 38-24, and Aaric Murray pulled in 12 for the game.
The Colonels were led in scoring by Glenn Cosey, who netted 21. They also got ten each from Mike DiNunno and Orlando Williams.
This was just the second meeting between these two schools. The other was in 1979, and Eastern Kentucky came from behind to win by two in that contest.
The Mountaineers will now look ahead to conference play. They'll host Oklahoma on Saturday in their Big 12 conference opener. These two teams actually played each other in a non-conference game earlier in the year, and the Sooners came away with a 77-70 win.
That game will also tip at 4 pm, and will be available on ESPN3.