MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - In the first half of their clash with Rider, the Mountaineers trailed by as many as seven points, but a 15-2 run late in the half helped the Mountaineers gain their footing.
The scoring spurt began with 6:45 left in the first and WVU down 28-21. Big 3-pointers by Lamont West and a pair of layups by Esa Ahmad allowed the Mountaineers to gain control of the game, and then a thunderous dunk by Chase Harler moments later helped set them on a course toward a 92-78 win.
Freshman guard Jordan McCabe entered the game as that run began. He dished out five assists in five minutes of action to help the Mountaineers turn a seven-point deficit into a five-point lead.
Head coach Bob Huggins said McCabe played well in the first half. Watch the full interview with coach below:
McCabe joked after the game that he has learned it's very important to do what his head coach asks of him. He also elaborated on some of the challenges he has faced in his first collegiate games:
Harler said this young team is beginning to mesh, and the 14-point victory Wednesday is proof of that:
The Mountaineers were without junior forward Sagaba Konate, who is listed as day-to-day with a knee injury. Logan Routt started in his place and netted seven points:
The Mountaineers finished with five players in double figures, led by 20 points from Lamont West. Esa Ahmad finished second on the team with 16 points:
Harler and James "Beetle" Bolden also finished in double figures. Bolden, however, did not play in the second half.
The Mountaineers wrap up a three-game homestand Saturday against Youngstown State.
More Game Notes:
- While Konate did not play in the win over Rider, Bolden and Wes Harris returned to the lineup. Both players missed the game against Valpo. Harris logged 29 minutes, second-most on the team, and scored nine points. Bolden scored 12 points in his 13 minutes, going 3-5 from beyond the arc.
- The Mountaineers shot 33 free throws to Rider's 16. The Mountaineers were 21-33 from the charity stripe.
- WVU forced 15 turnovers, but committed 14 of its own.
- The Mountaineers outrebounded Rider 46-36, grabbing eight more offensive boards than their opponent. They also recorded 21 assists compared to Rider's 11.
- West Virginia's next matchup will pit Bob Huggins against Jerrod Calhoun, a former WVU assistant who is now the head coach at Youngstown State.