No. 6 West Virginia cruises past Duquesne 68-39

West Virginia followed up another long layoff with another

blowout win – and complaints from coach Bob Huggins about his

erratic offense.

Kevin Jones scored 16 points and No. 6 West Virginia built a big

lead early and manhandled Duquesne 68-39 on Wednesday night.

West Virginia hadn’t played since an 84-66 win over Portland on

Nov. 29 in the championship game of the 76 Classic in Anaheim,


Despite the 10-day layoff and playing at home for only the

second time this season, West Virginia (6-0) had little trouble

beating the Dukes (6-3) for the seventh straight time. The

Mountaineers jumped ahead by double digits four minutes into the

game and led by as many as 34 points midway through the second


West Virginia shot just 36 percent (24 of 66) for the game but

made up for that by outrebounding Duquesne 45-34 and scoring 29

points off 24 Dukes turnovers.

“I thought we guarded pretty good. We just didn’t run the

offense,” Huggins said. “I’m running out of patience. Honestly,

I’m running out of patience with a few of the guys. They got to get

with us or they can sit over there and cheer like crazy. This isn’t

going to continue.”

The Mountaineers have won every game by double digits, and their

average margin of victory is 21 points.

West Virginia moved up this week to its highest ranking in The

Associated Press poll since the Mountaineers also were sixth on

Feb. 23, 1982. Their quirky early-season schedule also included a

nine-day layoff. West Virginia responded after that break with a

19-point win over The Citadel.

Duquesne beat Iowa earlier this season and led Pittsburgh by 16

points before falling in double overtime, but the Dukes were

unprepared for West Virginia’s scorers. Wellington Smith added 11

points and Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia’s leading scorer, had


With leading scorer Melquan Bolding still recovering from a

broken right wrist, and guard Jason Duty sitting out the game with

a left ankle injury, Duquesne was held to a season low for points.

The 39 points tied Duquesne’s fourth worst output since World War

II, and the Dukes have now failed to reach 60 points in three

straight games.

“I knew it was going to be difficult to come in there and play

without two of our starting guards and it certainly was,” said

Duquesne coach Ron Everhart. “We got shut out right off the bat

and we tried to respond, but we couldn’t keep them off the

offensive glass and they shut us off defensively.”

Damian Saunders led the Dukes with 12 points. Eric Evans was

coming off a 17-point effort in a 14-point win over Savannah State

on Saturday but was limited to six points against West


Duquesne, held to 32 percent shooting, had three significant

scoring droughts that allowed West Virginia to build its lead.

Jones, who has scored in double digits every game this season,

followed a dunk with a 3-point play during a 12-0 run that put the

Mountaineers ahead 61-27 with 10:42 left in the game.

“We’re not playing our best basketball,” Jones said. “This is

nowhere near our best basketball. Our best basketball is in the

future. It’s close – it’s coming up, though.”

His coach has a different view.

“We’re getting ready to get into the heart of our schedule,”

Huggins said. “You can’t put guys in the game that just totally

stop your offense. Our offense comes to a screeching halt when you

put them into the game.”

Huggins didn’t name names, but Casey Mitchell went just 1 of 7

from the floor in 13 minutes, his third straight poor outing.

Devin Ebanks got his first start of the season after missing the

first three games for undisclosed personal reasons. He scored 14

points twice as a reserve in wins over Texas A&M and Portland.

But Ebanks, his left hand heavily taped, made just 2 of 10 shots

and scored only four points against Duquesne.

“Yeah, his hand is bothering him,” Huggins said. “He took bad

shots. He had some really good looks and they didn’t go down, and

then he forced things.”

West Virginia jumped ahead 14-2 and five different players hit

3-pointers in the first half, putting the Mountaineers ahead by as

much as 23 just before halftime.

The 42-20 halftime lead could have been even greater. Many of

Duquesne’s first-half baskets were easy shots in the paint against

a defense that ranks 266th in Division I in field-goal percentage

allowed at 45.6 percent.

West Virginia shot just 36 percent (14 of 39) from the floor in

the first half but forced 15 Duquesne turnovers before