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West Virginia men rally past upset-minded Monmouth in season opener |

West Virginia men rally past upset-minded Monmouth in season opener

The Associated Press
West Virginia guard Juwan Staten (3) drives for a score against Monmouth guard Max DiLeo (3) on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia forward Devin Williams (5) grabs a rebound from Monmouth center Chris Brady (43) on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
Monmouth guard Max DiLeo (3) drives up court while defends West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip (12) on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins directs his players against Monmouth on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
Monmouth forward Brice Kofane (1) controls a rebound as West Virginia forward Elijah Macon (45) tries to trap him Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
Monmouth guard Deon Jones (5) and center Zac Tillman (33) trap West Virginia forward Tarik Phillip (12) on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
Monmouth's Deon Jones (5) drives past West Virginia forward Jonathan Holton (1) on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Juwan Staten scored 20 points, and Devin Williams added 15 as West Virginia knocked off upset-minded Monmouth on Friday night 64-54 in the opening game of the season for both teams.

The Mountaineers used a 21-4 run in a little more than five, second-half minutes to polish off the Hawks. During the span, the visitors failed to score a basket against West Virginia’s pressure defense.

Deon Jones had 14 points, and Andrew Nicholas had 10 for Monmouth.

Monmouth led 46-36 with 7:36 remaining. But the Hawks got in foul trouble, and the Mountaineers took advantage. Three big men — Brice Kofane, Zac Tillman and Chris Brady — fouled out for Monmouth. Meanwhile, Williams made them pay.

The 6-foot-9, 255-pound sophomore had only three field goals but netted 9 of 14 free throws. He also pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.

Williams scored three field goals and connected on 5 of- 7 free throws in the game’s last 6:40.

But it was what the Mountaineers forward did without the ball that was equally important in giving coach Bob Huggins his 741st career victory.

Kofane completed a three-point play to give Monmouth a 46-36 advantage. But the 6-foot-8 senior’s field goal would be just 1 of 2 that coach King Rice’s team would make the rest of the way.

West Virginia scored eight straight points to pull within 46-44 with 5:38 remaining. Chase Connor started the streak with a 3-point shot, but Williams did the dirty work.

He made 2 of 4 free throws, the first of which after he got 6-foot-10 Brady to foul out. On the other end, he blocked a shot out of bounds and then drew a charge to give the Mountaineers the ball back. Gary Browne completed the run with a 3-pointer.

The dash was part of a larger streak when West Virginia outscored Monmouth ,29-9.

Staten connected on 4 of 9 shots and made 11 of 12 free throws to lead the Mountaineers. West Virginia connected on only 18 of 69 field goals (26.1 percent).

The Mountaineers enjoyed a 49-33 advantage in rebounding. Monmouth was called for 31 fouls against just 17 for West Virginia.

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