Williams scores 16 as West Virginia whips George Mason
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — At a glance, there wasn’t much that West Virginia didn’t seem to do well in its opening game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
The Mountaineers forced turnovers on defense, played unselfishly on offense and limited their own mistakes. It all added up to an easy 91-65 victory over George Mason on Thursday.
Still, coach Bob Huggins thinks his team can play better this week.
“I thought we played really well for stretch, and then we got a big lead and we would kind of stop playing and our pressure just wasn’t very good. Our offense was worse,” Huggins said. “When you get ahead, I think even if it’s subconsciously, you start looking for shots instead of looking to score. And then we just turned them loose at the basket the whole second half, which is not a good thing to do.”
Devin Williams led the barrage for the Mountaineers with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jonathan Holton added 16 points and seven rebounds.
West Virginia (3-0) led by as many as 31 points and never allowed George Mason (1-2) to get it below 20 in the second half.
For Williams, it was his third straight double-double and the 11th of the sophomore’s career.
“Devin was good. I want him to be great,” Huggins said. “He was good, but Devin can be so much better and that’s what I want for him. Sometimes he doesn’t understand why I’m upset with him, but I’m upset with him because I know how good he can be.
“Good guys don’t take plays off. We gotta not take plays off. That’s not just Devin. That’s everybody. We gotta stop taking plays off.”
Williams played sparingly in the final 20 minutes, being sent to the floor after a collision underneath the basket. But he was able to walk off under his own power and is expected to be fine.
Patrick Holloway led the Patriots with 17 points.
West Virginia used its quickness in the first half to speed up George Mason’s offense, racking up 10 steals and forcing 16 Patriots turnovers. Those turnovers led to 19 Mountaineers points, including several dunks.
The dominance extended inside the paint, where West Virginia outscored George Mason, 24-8, for the half and 40-26 for the game.
George Mason entered the game having committed just 18 turnovers combined in its first two outings.
“They were just physically stronger and pushed us around,” Patriots coach Paul Hewitt said. “What we talked about coming in here was turnovers and offensive rebounds, and they dominated that. We had 24 turnovers, and they had 19 offensive rebounds and that’s pretty much the game.”