After an unusually bad season from Bob Huggins and his team last year, the Mountaineers put on a show in their season opener, sure to rekindle confidence in the ever-present West Virginia crowd.
WVU officially kicked off on Sunday evening against fellow Mountaineers, Mount Saint Marys.
Kedrian Johnson was called up for an offensive foul on first possession, but West Virginia got to work quickly, getting their first points of the game from an offensive rebound.
Two consecutive threes put Mount Saint Marys at 8-6. This would be the only lead for them that would last 27 seconds all night. MSM scored just 18 points over the first 20-minute period, shooting a whopping 21% from the field, compared to 42% from West Virginia. No player made more than one shot for Mount Saint Marys. The team experienced a six-minute scoring drought, thanks to the overwhelming WVU-defense, but scored with just under two minutes left in the first. They would hit a three just before half to make the score 30-18 in favor of West Virginia going into the second.
Seth Wilson led the WVU by seven points and Mohammed Wague went 3/3 of the field with six points of his own. Jimmy Bell Jr. led the half for both teams with six rebounds. WVU had an unfortunate 7:11 assist-to-turn ratio, but had six steals in the half. A surprise appearance from Tre Mitchell, who had sustained an injury, was an exciting sight for West Virginia.
Mount Saint Marys started the second half with a lay-up, but a score and a three from Kedrian Johnson caused MSM to declare a quick timeout.
Emmitt Matthews scored nine consecutive points and Mo Wague had two blocks.
A somewhat confusing double technician put the game on pause for quite some time midway through the half, one calling WVU’s Erik Stevenson and the other on the MSM bench. However, Tre Mitchell brought some energy back to the stadium by scoring and then taking on the defense.
Erik Stevenson hit a jumper, lobed for an assist for Emmitt Matthews, then got a steal and assist from Joe Toussaint in under a minute, to finish it off strong for West Virginia.
Mount Saint Mary’s Jalen Benjamin had some impressive shots that night, adding 18 points, but it wouldn’t be enough to lead his side to victory.
WVU came out with a 76-58 win, with Emmitt Matthews leading the score for the team with 15. Tre Mitchell himself added 13 and Erik Stevenson had 10.
The Mountaineers will play their first road game on Friday, November 11, facing Pitt in their next matchup.