Off And Running

  • November 08, 2009 04:09 PM
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By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
November 8, 2009


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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Kevin Jones came off the bench to score 21 points and grab 10 rebounds to lead West Virginia to a 104-82 exhibition victory over Mountain State Sunday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum.

More than 7,000 (7,114) came out to see an entertaining up-and-down basketball game that had the Mountaineers shoot 48.2 percent for the game and hand out 23 assists on 40 baskets.

“I’ve tried to play Mountain State every year because they have been the most competitive,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “We don’t need to bring somebody in here and win by 70 because it doesn’t do us or them any good. We’re good enough this year that we probably could do that, but it doesn’t benefit either team.”

Junior college transfer Casey Mitchell poured in 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting, while Devin Ebanks added a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Last year’s leading scorer Da’Sean Butler finished with 10 points to go with a game-high nine assists, matched by West Virginia guard Truck Bryant.

Huggins chose to use a starting lineup consisting of Butler, Ebanks and Wellington Smith at forwards with Bryant and Mitchell in the backcourt.

Guard Joe Mazzulla did not play.

“He could have come back and played today, but it wouldn’t serve a purpose,” said Huggins. “I undertand that we’re going to have to start planning to get some of the rust off, but all he would’ve done is take the minutes from players who need the minutes.”

Deniz Kilicli, who must serve a 20-game suspension for playing on a team in Turkey during the 2007-08 season that included a professional player, contributed 8 points and six rebounds. Kilicli will also be able to play during West Virginia's exhibition game against Charleston on Dec. 5 at the WVU Coliseum.

The first game he is available for action during the regular season will be against Pitt on Feb. 3 at the Coliseum.

The Mountaineers forced Mountain State to commit 18 turnovers and had a 55-41 advantage on the glass.

West Virginia, ranked eighth in the Associated Press preseason poll, led Mountain State 55-31 at halftime.

All 15 players available got into the game.

“I’m just looking for them to fit in,” Huggins said of his younger players. “It means they’re doing pretty well when you don’t notice them because it’s better to do that than to stand out negatively.”

WVU opens the regular season a week from today at the WVU Coliseum against Loyola, Md., at 4 p.m.

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