WVU squeaks by Jacksonville State 74-72
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Wesley Harris scored a career-high 20 points and had eight rebounds to lead West Virginia over Jacksonville State 74-72 on Saturday.
Despite a sloppy shooting performance in the first half (13 of 34), the Mountaineers (7-4) got out to as much as a nine-point lead over the Gamecocks. However, Jacksonville State (7-5) reduced its deficit and even took the lead with under five minutes to go.
With the Mountaineers holding the game’s final margin, JSU’s Jason Burnell missed a 3-point attempt with eight seconds left, and WVU’s Chase Harler grabbed the rebound. After getting fouled, Harler missed his first free throw, Burnell grabbed the rebound but overthrew a pass to a teammate as time expired.
Lamont West scored 18 points for the Mountaineers. Brandon Knapper added 12 points.
WVU defensive star Sagaba Konate missed the game due to a knee injury. It was announced that he would miss two to four weeks prior to tipoff. Mountaineer leading scorer Esa Ahmad only saw four minutes and did not play in the second half.
Marlon Hunter led the Gamecocks with a career-high 26 points and had seven rebounds. Christian Cunningham added 13 points.
Jacksonville State outrebounded West Virginia 36-34.
Jacksonville State: Despite the loss to the WVU, the Gamecocks have still won seven of their last nine games and have plenty of momentum heading into Ohio Valley Conference play starting on Jan. 3 against Belmont in Nashville.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers have shot an average of 37 percent from the field over their last four games. That must improve as they get set to take on NCAA regular Lehigh and Texas Tech during New Years’ week.
Jacksonville State will have a week off before hosting Reinhardt in their final non-conference game Saturday.
West Virginia will have an eight-day layoff before hosting Lehigh on Dec. 30.