MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The combination of Juwan Staten struggling through a 2-of-10 shooting night and Eron Harris making only 4-of-13 could have given Loyola-Maryland hopes of springing an upset.
But with West Virginia’s supporting cast picking up the slack, the Mountaineers coasted to their largest blowout in six years, 96-47.
“Teams can’t focus in on one guy,” said Staten after scoring a season-low four points. “When we’ve got five guys on the floor capable of making shots, teams have to play us honest. If they take something away, it means they’re leaving someone else open.
“We have a lot of players who can make a lot of shots.”
Reserves Remi Dibo and Terry Henderson scored 19 and 16 points respectively, combining on 12-of-16 shooting. Even Kevin Noreen, typically known for his statistically-overlooked garbage work, added 13 first-half points while making all five of his shots.
Nathan Adrian scored an efficient 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting. The freshman from Morgantown High was 3-of-4 from 3-point range, and is among four Mountaineers shooting better than 46 percent from behind the arc.
The 49-point margin of victory was WVU’s widest since beating Maryland-Eastern Shore 110-44 on Nov. 27, 2007. It came despite Harris missing 7-of-8 shots in the opening half, when he was so out of sorts he even clanked both foul shots. (Those stood out on a night when WVU sank 19-of-22 at the foul line.)
“I felt so enthusiastic before the game, but I came out and I think I was trying to force too much,” said Harris, who committed three turnovers in the opening half. “I came out in the second half and slowed down in my mind, took my time and made some shots.
“I’m still mad I missed two free throws, though.”