No. 19 West Virginia beats Eastern Kentucky 84-59
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s Bob Huggins didn’t sound like the coach whose team just won a game by 25 points.
“We make the run and then it was a very lackluster effort by us in the second half,” Huggins said after career win No. 775, putting him one victory behind Cliff Ellis for 12th place on the NCAA Division I list.
Jaysean Paige scored all of his 17 points in the first half and No. 19 West Virginia beat Eastern Kentucky 84-59 on Monday night.
Paige was 6 of 12 from the field, including making 4 of 7 from behind the 3-point line.
The Mountaineers, who have won six straight nonconference games at home, connected on 10 of their 24 3-point attempts for the game. They had been shooting 30.5 percent coming into the game.
Jevon Carter was 3 for 7 from beyond the arc and had 11 points for the Mountaineers (10-1), while Devin Williams had 15 points and eight rebounds and Daxter Miles Jr. added 12 points.
It’s the seventh time this season West Virginia has won by 20 points or more and the Mountaineers’ average margin of victory in their six home games this year against Northern Kentucky, Stetson, Bethune-Cookman, Kennesaw State, UL Monroe and Eastern Kentucky is 40 points.
“You’ve got to keep playing,” Huggins said. “We can’t keep relying on making jump shots and we’ve got to make things happen.”
Javonte Hawkins scored 16 points and Jaylen Babb-Harrison added 15 for Eastern Kentucky (8-6), which was playing its eighth true road game of the season.
The Colonels, who were connecting on 43 percent of their 3-point attempts coming into the game, connected on 9 of 23 from beyond the arc.
West Virginia led 50-22 at halftime as the Mountaineers made nine 3s.
Trailing 14-10, West Virginia ran off 12 straight points for a 22-14 lead with 8:50 remaining.
After two baskets by Hawkins, the Mountaineers responded again. This time it was a 24-1 run that featured seven 3-pointers.
Eastern Kentucky was without leading scorer Jarelle Reischel (10.8). The junior was suffering from back spasms, according to the Eastern Kentucky radio broadcast.
The Mountaineers, who are 10-1 for the second consecutive season, will have nine days over the Christmas break to get ready to face Virginia Tech next Wednesday in Blacksburg. It’s the first of three consecutive road games for the Mountaineers through early January.
“We’re giving them four days off and they will be back here on the 26th,” Huggins said. “If we just do what we are capable of doing we’ll be fine — but we’ve got to do it. If we’re going to be what (the players) say they want to be then that’s what good teams do — they go into somebody else’s house and win.”
West Virginia is 82-6 at home against nonconference teams in the last 13 years, including wins in 63 of its last 67.
Coming into the game West Virginia led the nation in steals (12.1), turnovers forced (22.3), 3-point shooting defense (22.4 percent), offensive rebounds (18.4).
EKU FROM 3
Eastern Kentucky was 12th in the nation from the 3-point line (42.7 percent).
Eastern Kentucky hosts Manhattan on Dec. 29.
West Virginia visits Virginia Tech on Dec. 30.