West Virginia 77, Akron 56
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)
He scored 15 points in the first half as West Virginia (4-1) opened a 44-20 advantage at intermission.
The Mountaineers outscored the Zips 20-2 over the last 4:32 of the half, with Hinds getting 12 points in that stretch.
Akron (3-3), averaging better than 50 percent from the field entering the game, shot just 35.7 percent (20 of 56) for the contest. West Virginia shot 47.6 percent (30 of 63).
Nick Harney had 12 and Zeke Marshall tallied 10 for Akron.
The game was billed as Akron's offense vs. West Virginia's defense, and the Mountaineers clearly got the upper hand.
Led by Hinds, West Virginia outscored Akron 18-1 in the first half when it came to points off of turnovers. Coach Bob Huggins' team held Akron, ranked in the top 15 in scoring percentage coming in, to just 26.9 percent (7 of 26) from the field in the half. The visitors managed just one field goal in the final 9:30.
Akron turned the ball over 10 times before intermission and 20 times in the game. The Zips threw the ball away repeatedly, missed layups, slammed hands on basket uprights and picked up two technical fouls.
West Virginia's bench also picked up a technical infraction.
With West Virginia up 24-18, freshman Pat Forsythe's tap-in ended a shooting drought of 4-minutes-plus by the Mountaineers.
Then Hinds wrapped his hands around the first half and refused to let go.
He made a steal and dashed from the baseline to score as Akron's Adedeji Ibitayo was called for goaltending .
Hinds drove the lane in an instant. He was fouled and connected on one of two free throws. The next possession saw the flashy guard get a coast-to-coast layup. The first-year player had scored five straight points.
His 3-point bomb put WVU ahead 34-18 with 1:25 to go. After three free throws by WVU's Bryant, Hinds wrapped two jumpers around two foul shots by Akron. The rookie finished off his half with a feed to Jones and the big lead, which held up.
Hinds finished the game with 8 of 12 field goals, four rebounds, four assists and five steals in 30 minutes.
Jones, the fourth-leading rebounder in NCAA Division I and West Virginia's all-time offensive rebounding leader, brought down a game-high dozen.