Mountaineers Top Old Dominion in Cancun

West Virginia kicked off tournament play in the Cancun Challenge Tuesday night with a 78-60 victory against Old Dominion.

The Mountaineers were able to withstand a few runs by the Monarchs in order to escape with the win and move onto the tournament's championship game against the winner of Tuesday's nightcap between No. 10 Wisconsin and St. Louis.

West Virginia got the game started off on a big run, jumping out early to a 22-9 run thanks to a balanced attack that led to seven Mountaineer players finding their way into the scoring column in the first 12 minutes of play.

Much like it had early in its last few games, WVU had come out of the gate on a roll and looked like it was going to be well on its way to another big victory. But the Monarchs refused to go away without a fight.

Old Dominion was able to take advantage of a brief WVU cold streak to respond with an 8-0 run of its own to make it a 22-17 game with close to five minutes to play in the first half. But West Virginia closed the half on a nice run in which it was able to end the half and head into the locker room up 12.

And the momentum didn't end there, as the Mountaineers quickly picked up where they left off as it started the final 20 minutes of play.

For a majority of the half West Virginia was playing with a lead of 20 points or more, thanks a lot to a big day on the defensive end of the floor.

West Virginia was able to constantly get to Old Dominion and force turnovers, scoring a handful of their points on the 15 times that the Monarchs gave the ball away. That success they were able to have on defense helped to quickly slow down any momentum Old Dominion was able to start picking up.

But it didn't just get the job done on defense. WVU was able to once again have an extremely efficient day on the offensive end of the floor. The Mountaineers scored at least 80 points for the fifth game in a row – a number that West Virginia eclipsed just twice all of last season.

WVU put up those points while shooting it lights out from the field, finishing the game shooting 56 percent for the fourth time this season. The Mountaineers haven't had four games in which they shot better than 55 percent since Bob Huggins' first year at WVU in the 2007-08 season.

Junior point guard Juwan Staten had another good game to continue his fast start to the season as he finished the game with 13 points and nine assists. Through just six games, Staten has three games with nine or more assists – the first time that has happened in a season since Tim Lyles had three games with that many in the 2000-01 campaign.

Eron Harris led four Mountaineers in double figures with 19 points. Junior guard Terry Henderson scored 14 points off the bench and Devin Williams finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds to record his third double-double of his freshman season.

WVU will play in the championship game of the Cancun Challenge at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

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