Strong second half lifts WVU over Rider 92-78
The Mountaineers (4-2) missed their first six shots, making just 7 of 31 shots in the first 13 minutes. Of those 31 attempts, 14 were from 3-point range.
“They have no idea how bad they hurt the team when they play out of team structure,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “We don’t have Steph Curry or Kevin Durant, we got regular college guys and they try to do things they can’t do and then they look like fools.”
But West and Esa Ahmad led West Virginia on a 22-8 run to close the half for a 43-36 lead. Despite the rally, the Mountaineers finished the first half shooting 33 percent, their second-worst shooting half of the season.
“(West’s) just doing his job,” Ahmad said. “We know he was a great spot-up shooter and our guards did a good job of finding him today and he knocked them down.”
WVU opened the second half on a 13-2 run and the Broncs (2-2) were not able to cut it to single digits after that.
Ahmad added 16 points, James “Beetle” Bolden scored 12 and Emmit Matthews Jr had a career-high 11 for WVU. Chase Harler scored a season-high 11 points. Logan Routt led the team in rebounds with eight and Wesley Harris had seven.
Sagaba Konate missed the game with a right knee injury and is listed as day-to-day. Bolden sat the entire second half as a precautionary measure, protecting his left hand after an injury in the Mountaineers’ exhibition against Penn State earlier this month.
“I didn’t think we gave ourselves a chance enough,” Rider coach Kevin Baggett. “Just too many undisciplined things that we were doing offensively and defensively.”
Rider was troubled by fouls, amassing 22 with 16 coming in the second half.
West Virginia has struggled with shooting early over the last couple of games, and it won’t be as easy to rally late against teams like Florida and Pittsburgh next week.
Mountaineer freshman guard Jordan McCabe had a career-high eight assists, leading the team. West Virginia outscored Rider by 14 when he was on the floor.
Rider has 10 days off before playing Hofstra.
West Virginia concludes its three-game homestand against Youngstown State on Saturday.