MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to board a plane for Cancun, West Virginia made sure to take care of its last piece of business at home.
Behind 19 points from Eron Harris, a double-double by Devin Williams and another all-around productive game from Juwan Staten, the Mountaineers pummeled Presbyterian 88-55 before a crowd of 5,067 at the WVU Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
West Virginia (4-1) put the game away with a 28-6 run over the final 10 minutes of the opening half to lead 48-22.
“We have more guys who can make shots—it’s really pretty simple,” said coach Bob Huggins. “You look like a good offensive coach whenever the ball goes in.”
For the second straight game West Virginia led wire-to-wire, building the margin to 39 points in the second half. Huggins had his team experiment with a halfcourt trap and 1-3-1 zone during portions of the blowout.
“This game was about us working on us and us getting better,” Huggins said.
“I kinda like this. I don’t know why I’m playing Purdue and Gonzaga and all them other people. I kinda like this—it’s a little more relaxing sitting over there.”
Presbyterian coach Gregg Nibert offered high postgame praise for WVU’s backcourt.
“We tried to do everything we could to try to stop Juwan Staten and Eron Harris, and despite our attempts they were still 7-of-10 and 7-of-15,” Nibert said. “They are two tremendous guards that could be top two at their position in the country, in terms of how they complement each other.”
Staten finished with 16 points, seven assists and zero turnovers. The junior point guard now has 38 assists against only four turnovers all season—a differential that could loom large with stiffer opposition awaiting in Cancun next week. WVU meets Old Dominion in Tuesday’s semifinal before facing either Wisconsin or St. Louis on Wednesday.
“We’re talking about the schedule down there (in Cancun) and what they need to bring, and Juwan Staten says, ‘Listen—this isn’t a vacation. This is a business trip.’ We haven’t had that in a while,” Huggins said.
Remi Dibo made 4-of-8 from 3-point range and added 14 points, and Williams produced 11 points and 11 rebounds, helping WVU to a 40-28 rebounding edge.
Jordan Downing led Presbyterian (1-5) with 18 points, but the Blue Hose shot 39 percent and committed 19 turnovers to West Virginia’s nine.
“Their defense, combined with our quick shots, really took us out of the game,” Nibert said. “(Huggins) has a heck of a team. My hat’s off to them. I think they will be nationally ranked sooner rather than later.”