MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — At first, it seemed Bob Huggins’s preseason prophecy would come true for West Virginia against Morehead State, but the Mountaineers got it together to pull off a 75-57 rout at the WVU Coliseum on Tuesday.
WVU (3-0) turned the ball over on five of its first six possessions, allowing the Eagles (2-2) to take an early one-possession lead. The Mountaineers gave the ball up just three more times before the halftime break and finished with 10 giveaways in the win while forcing 20 turnovers from Morehead State as they dominated the final 30 minutes of play.
Tre Mitchell earned his first start for the Old Gold and Blue and added to his growing profile as a star, leading the game with 21 points. He made 8 of his 10 field goals, including a trio of dunks that juiced the Coliseum crowd. Mitchell added six rebounds and a pair of assists.
“He didn’t play for two-and-a-half, three months. He’s still now not in very good shape,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins. “As he continues to get in shape he’ll continue to get better and better, but I think you can see why we were excited about getting him.”
After his Tuesday night performance, Mitchell’s field goal percentage sits over 68 percent for the season.
Emmitt Matthews Jr. also showed his importance to the squad despite not a less-than-dazzling performance in the box score. The fifth-year forward led WVU with 30 minutes on the floor and registered a plus-minus of 26.
“He’s been our rock,” Huggins said. “He’s been our most solid guy.”
The frontcourt duo of Jimmy Bell Jr. and Mohamed Wague were WVU’s next biggest threats, utilizing their size to combine for 20 points. Bell led the game with eight rebounds.
The rebounding battle ended even between the two teams at 33.
Alex Gross led the Eagles with 12 points and six rebounds. Mark Freeman was right behind with 10 points.
WVU’s win echoed a clash between the two programs in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Coincidentally, the Mountaineers had a very similar margin of victory in that matchup, topping the Eagles by 17.
West Virginia returns to the court on Friday night when it hosts Penn at the WVU Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.