WVU Basketball Made Its Debut Friday Night

The West Virginia men’s basketball team took to the court for the first time on Friday night at the Gold-Blue debut.

After a dunk and shooting contest, the Mountaineers played a 30-minute scrimmage, in which the Blue team defeated the Gold team 45-28.

West Virginia will be led this year by preseason Big 12 Conference Player of the Year Juwan Staten, but he didn’t take or make a shot in the scrimmage. He had five assists as part of the victorious Blue team.

Sophomore forward Devin Williams had the best night. He led all scorers in the scrimmage with 13 points. He also had a game-high five rebounds.

“Hopefully we have enough guys that we can just go with who’s playing well at the time. We know Juwan and Devin will be consistent,” said head coach Bob Huggins after the scrimmage.

Freshmen guards Daxter Miles and Jevon Carter added 10 and eight points, respectively, for the Blue squad.

Nobody on the Gold team scored more than 10 points. Sophomore guard Tarik Phillip had a team-high seven points. Redshirt freshman forward Elijah Macon had six points and four rebounds. Senior guard Gary Browne and junior forward Jonathan Holton each had six points each, as well.

“They were anxious to get out here and play at the Coliseum,” Huggins said.

The Blue team took an early lead behind threes from Miles and Carter. Miles would add another three later on to take an early 11-4 lead over the Gold team.

That was really all the cushion the Blue team would need, as it cruised in the first half – even without Staten scoring in the first half. He wasn’t quiet, though, as he continually found open players and made successful drives through the lane.

The Gold team wasn’t without its highlights. Holton slammed home a nice pass to make it 20-10, and the next time down the floor junior college transfer guard Jaysean Paige leapt high into the arm for a follow-up slam on a missed shot.

The Blue team took a 29-14 halftime lead on two free throws from Miles, who had 10 first-half points.

Williams opened the scoring in the second half with a steal and dunk. Macon, on the other end, added a dunk following a nice pass from Browne.

Staten found Williams with a nice pass tight in the lane, and he was able to turn it into a layup and add the free throw to go up 36-16. The next time down the floor, junior forward BillyDee Williams took and rebound and slammed it home.

Phillip scored five points in a quick stretch for the Gold team, and Browne added three straight points to end the game.

Huggins opened the night up with a few jokes at the podium – pointed jabs at Marshall and Pittsburgh fans to make the Mountaineer fans in attendance laugh and applaud.

“We’re excited about these boys, because they play with so much enthusiasm,” Huggins said.

He made a note to talk about attendance, something that he’s been known to comment on in his time as West Virginia’s coach. According to Huggins, the Coliseum had been filled to 15,000 fans 11 times – four of those coming in the 2010 season in which the Mountaineers made it to the Final Four.

“If we can get 15,000 in here four or five times, we might have a shot,” Huggins said. “This group is so much more like that group that went to the Final Four.”

In the “Shooting Stars Competition” that followed a disappointing dunk contest, Carter hit his first attempt at a half-court shot. Devin Williams beat out Staten on the half-court shoot-out to move on to the final round. Williams’ team would pull off the victory in the game on another half-court make from Williams to beat Carter’s team.

The Mountaineers next take the Coliseum court on Nov. 9 for an exhibition game against Shepherd. WVU opens the season on Nov. 14 at home against Monmouth.

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