The Mountaineers, which had struggled to shoot at a consistent rate for much of their December contests, finally put together an offensive performance worth smiling about. WVU hit 49 percent of its shots and scored more than 80 points for the first time since Dec. 2.
Four players scored in double figures, and every WVU player who normally participates in the games for the Mountaineers scored at least two points. With 4:06 to play in the game, head coach Bob Huggins sent in walk-on guard Chase Connor, and other bench players would come in before the end of the contest.
West Virginia was led offensively by sophomore guard Terry Henderson who had a season-high 19 points.
Forward Nathan Adrian, who left in the first half after suffering a broken nose, finished with a career-high 16 points including four made 3-pointers.
Junior point guard Juwan Staten finished with a double-double. He had 15 points, 10 rebounds and added six assists.
William & Mary, however, couldn’t find its shooting stroke against the Mountaineers on Sunday. The Tribe hit just 25 percent of its shots.
Before this game, William & Mary (6-5) had not lost a game by more than 20 points. It was just the first time the Tribe has lost to a team by 20 or more points since Jan. 28, 2012 and biggest loss since Dec. 18, 2011. The Tribe also beat Rutgers earlier this season and narrowly lost to Wichita State.
West Virginia finished non-conference play with an 8-5 record and no signature wins. That could leave the Mountaineers in a bind as they try to sneak into the NCAA tournament over the next three months.
WVU will head to the road for its next two games, when it will begin its Big 12 Conference schedule against TCU and Texas Tech in a three-day period before coming home to face Oklahoma State, one of the conference’s strongest teams.
Huggins decided to start Adrian and forward Brandon Watkins against the Tribe.
While Watkins didn’t provide the spark he did last time in Charleston against Marshall, sophomore Remi Dibo scored nine first-half points, all from beyond the arc, and Devin Williams added four first-half points and some size inside to help give West Virginia a commanding lead before the second half began.
Williams, who has been dealing with back injuries, finished with four points in limited minutes. Dibo had nine points in the game.
West Virginia trailed early on but was able to tie the game at 6-6 on free throws from Henderson. From that point, the Mountaineers would go on a 10-2 run highlighted by two 3-pointers from Dibo and a gigantic, posterizing dunk by Staten to take a 16-8 lead with more than 12 minutes to play in the first half.
Following a timeout by William & Mary to stop the Mountaineers’ hot shooting, West Virginia would score seven straight points to extend the lead to 23-8.
Finally, the Tribe would hit a three, which would end a 23-4 run by the Mountaineers and make it a 23-11 WVU advantage.
West Virginia would continue to expand its lead in the first half, taking as big as a 21-point advantage. The Mountaineers would go into the locker room at the half up 41-24.
After starting the game 3-for-4, the Tribe was just 4-for-24 the rest of the first half for a combined 25 percent shooting. The Mountaineers, on the other hand, hit 50 percent of their shots (14-of-28).
The second half was similar to the first half, as West Virginia just continued to expand its lead behind some hot shooting from the likes of Adrian and Henderson.
Sophomore guard Eron Harris finished with 10 points.
William & Mary was led by forward Tim Rustoven, who finished with 13 points – the lone scorer in double figures for the Tribe.
The Mountaineers were strong on the boards versus the Tribe, securing 16 more than their opponents. WVU also hit 14-of-15 free throws.