West Virginia 74, Cleveland St. 63

Casey Mitchell and Kevin Jones scored 15 points apiece as West

Virginia pulled away in the second half, handing Cleveland State

its first defeat of the season, 74-63 on Saturday.

Mitchell, the leading scorer for the Mountaineers (8-2),

recovered after being held to a total of eight points in his

previous two games. His 3-pointer with 7:45 left in the second half

ignited a 19-8, game-ending West Virginia run.

Mitchell finished 5 of 14 from the floor and 3 of 8 from behind

the arc.

The Vikings (12-1) drew within seven points on Trevon Harmon’s 3

with 3:50 left. But two Cam Thoroughman free throws, followed by

Jones’ 3-pointer with 2:45 remaining, quelled any chance of a

Cleveland State comeback.

Norris Cole, who led Cleveland State with 19 points, tied the

score at 55 with 8:30 to go in the second half, but 3-pointers by

Mitchell and Jones on consecutive possessions made it 61-55 and

sent West Virginia on its way.

Jones scored all but two of his points in the second half.

Cleveland State, off to its best start in school history, was

looking to become the first NCAA Division I school to win its first

13 games this season and to avenge last season’s final-second loss

to West Virginia in Cleveland.

The Vikings have all five starters back from last season’s 16-17

squad, but those veterans couldn’t match the Mountaineers’ timely

shooting and opportunistic defense down the stretch.

West Virginia, which fell behind by double digits in the first

half of a 64-61 win over Duquesne last Sunday, struggled again in

the first half. It failed to find consistency at either end of the

floor against Cleveland State but managed a four-point halftime

lead after trailing by four, 22-18, with 9:39 until halftime.

The Mountaineers led by as many as nine points in the first 4:02

of the second half before Cleveland State came roaring back.

Down 47-38 with 15:58 to go, the Vikings scored eight straight

points to come within a point but couldn’t get over the hump.

The Mountaineers forced three turnovers and the Vikings didn’t

score a point during a span from the 8:30 mark of the second half

until 3:50 remained.

John Flowers added 10 points and three blocks for West

Virginia.

The Mountaineers shot 47.4 percent from the floor, while the

Vikings managed only 41.7 percent.