Holton’s 18 points help West Virginia whip Lafayette
MORGANTOWN, W.V. — Two players who were unavailable a year ago helped lead West Virginia to its second straight victory in 72 hours Sunday as the Mountaineers bested Lafayette, 83-56.
Jonathan Holton had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Jaysean Paige had 16 points, including three 3-pointers, for the Mountaineers. Sophomore Devin Williams added 15 points and 11 rebounds — his second straight double-double of the season and the 10th of his two-year career. Juwan Staten added 10 points.
Dan Trist led the Leopards with 12 points and six rebounds.
Lafayette beat Robert Morris, 77-50, on Friday night at Sewall Center.
The same evening West Virginia knocked off Monmouth, 64-54, but the Mountaineers were not without fault. They shot 26.1 percent from the field but rebounded — literally — with 49 boards, including 30 on the offensive end.
Against Lafayette, the latter two stats were up to the totals of Friday against the visiting Hawks, but the Mountaineers were shaky early from the field.
Paige, a resident of Jamestown, N.Y., but a transfer from Moberly Area Community College, helped to change that. He knocked in two straight 3-pointers to expand the Mountaineers’ lead to 16-10 with 8:47 remaining in the first half.
Meanwhile, Holton, who sat out last year after transferring from Palm Beach State Community College, was the game’s leading rebounder.
“That’s what we expected. He slowed down,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “He was so fired up on Friday. I think we got more under control. He’s capable of being a whole lot better than that.”
Williams picked up where he left off in West Virginia’s previous game. Then, he scored 15 and hauled down as many rebounds
With 11:47 remaining in the first half, West Virginia was shooting only 17 percent on 18 field-goal attempts. To that point, it had outrebounded the shorter Leopards, 16-4. Its advantage on the offensive end was 10-0.
Leading 10-7, Paige knocked down the first of two 3s with 9:21 showing. He answered a 3 by Lafayette’s Joey Ptasinski with his second straight long bomb for the six-point advantage. Paige then made a steal and the ball got to Holton, who raced down the floor for a layup and an eight-point Mountaineer lead with 8:39 showing.
Lafayette coach Fran O’Hanlon was forced to call a timeout. Otherwise, the Leopards again were going to lose the ball on consecutive possessions. The visitors were rattled.
WVU forced 20 turnovers out of the Leopards while making just a half-dozen themselves. Staten, who handed out eight assists, made three steals. Paige and reserve Tarik Phillip each had two.
“We were expecting to get off to a better start than we did,” said O’Hanlon, whose team fell behind 9-0 at the outset. “We can’t turn the ball over like we did — certainly in the beginning of the game.”