MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia has one more contest before it begins a new season of Big 12 Conference play.
The Mountaineers (9-2) welcome Stony Brook (8-4) on Thursday for the final game before the holiday break and the first-ever meeting between the two programs. In its last time out, WVU downed Buffalo on Sunday 96-78 behind four double-digit scorers. Erik Stevenson led the game with 22 points, but the big man Jimmy Bell impressed, coming alive in the second half to score 17 of his 18 total points over the final 20 minutes.
He also finished with 10 rebounds, becoming the first Mountaineer to record a double-double this season. It also marked the first of his career.
Tre Mitchell contributed 17 points and is currently WVU’s second-leading scorer with an average of 13.3 points per game. Stevenson is slightly ahead with 14.4.
Tyler Stephenson-Moore paces the Seawolves with 14.8 points per game. Expect to see a lot of the senior guard on Thursday as he leads the nation in minutes per game with 37.1. Frankie Policelli is nearly averaging a double-double with 12.2 points and a team-high 9.8 rebounds per game.
West Virginia enters with a big scoring advantage as it is netting 81.9 points per game compared to 63.3 for Stony Brook. Even though the Mountaineers are putting up high numbers, Huggins said points are being left on the court due to his team overhandling the ball.
“We don’t deliver the ball when the ball needs to get delivered. If we could deliver the ball on time, we would really score a lot of points. We hold the ball too long,” he said. “Throw it away from the defense, don’t throw it on the defensive side. Don’t throw it at people’s feet. Don’t throw it over their head. If they put their hand out and say here, you probably ought to throw it there.”
The Mountaineers will play their second straight game without one of their top scorers, Emmitt Matthews. Kobe Johnson replaced him in the starting lineup the last time out. It marked Johnson’s first start of the season and the fifth of his career.
“He’s getting better. What they ultimately decided the problem was was a deep bone bruise. It’s getting better. He’s feeling a lot better,” Huggins said. “I think the goal is for him to start practicing when we get back to practice and get ready for K-State.”
WVU and Stony Brook tip off on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Coliseum. You can watch the action on ESPN+.