West Virginia 94, VMI 69
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)
Staten, a junior guard who transferred from Dayton, and Aaric Murray, a junior center who transferred from La Salle, put up big games.
Staten's 18 points led all scorers and was his best total with the Mountaineers (2-3). He connected on 7 of 10 shots, made all four of his free throws, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out three assists.
Murray made 6 of 12 field goal tries, finished with 13 points and took a game-high nine rebounds.
They got plenty of help. Senior center Deniz Kilicli connected on 5 of 8 shots and finished with 13 points, 11 in the second half. He also grabbed five rebounds.
Reserves Gary Browne and Keaton Miles scored 11 points, with Browne also getting seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists. Miles' point total was a career high for the sophomore.
Terry Henderson and Eron Harris added 10 points each.
West Virginia has won 13 straight home openers since moving back into the Coliseum in the 2000-01 season after it was closed for a year for asbestos abatement. It was also the Mountaineers' 42nd victory in their last 43 home games against nonconference opponents.
West Virginia had played a tough early schedule, losing on the road to 12th-ranked Gonzaga and at a neutral-site tournament to Davidson and Oklahoma, but a lack of scoring had been the chief problem for coach Bob Huggins' team.
Coming into this game, the Mountaineers had connected on just 39.8 percent of their field goal attempts, 25.8 percent from the 3-point line and just 65.6 percent of their free throws.
Those figures showed some improvement in this nonconference game. Although West Virginia made just 3 of 19 attempts (15.8 percent) from 3-point range, but it was 37 of 82 (45.1 percent) overall from the floor and made 17 of 21 free throws.
West Virginia led 90-58 before VMI made some headway against Mountaineers subs. West Virginia forced 15 turnovers while committing just eight.