WVU battles back, takes down BC

The West Virginia basketball team battled back from a double-digit deficit to take down Boston College, 70-66, Friday night to advance to the championship game in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan.

At times, it looked as if the Mountaineers were going to struggle to successfully complete their first challenge of the season against a Power 5 conference opponent, as the Eagles came out strong and forced WVU to make mistakes and play a game that wasn't working with what it had been doing early in the season.

But down the stretch - even without senior point guard Juwan Staten, who fouled out with 3:49 to play - West Virginia was able to make enough plays on both ends of the floor to be able to come away with the victory and a showdown against Connecticut on Sunday.

"We put ourselves in a bad spot. We just didn't have a whole lot of bounce to start the game," said head coach Bob Huggins during his postgame radio interview. "It's hard to play the way we play when you don't have a lot of bounce."

The Mountaineers had four players in double figures, with freshmen Daxter Miles and Jevon Carter leading the way and serving as the catalysts for the comeback in the second half. Carter finished with 15 points, including two makes from beyond the arc, while Miles had 10 points and led the Mountaineers (4-0) with six rebounds.

West Virginia was able to set the tone for its late comeback once again with its defense. Boston College turned the ball over 21 times - with 14 of those coming in the game's final 20 minutes - and it translated into 20 points for the Mountaineers. WVU has forced at least 20 turnovers in each game this season, a feat it was never able to accomplish last season.

While WVU was able to turn the pressure on and wear BC down later in the game, the Eagles came out firing on all cylinders in the first half Friday night. Led by point guard Olivier Hanlan, Boston College was able to jump out to an early 32-21 lead heading into the half.

The Eagles shot 56.5 percent in the first half, while holding the Mountaineers to 26.9 percent from the field with just seven makes on 26 attempts.

"At the right times, we got them turned over," Huggins said. "Playing these new guys, these young guys, they do some dumb things.

"But they'll learn from it, which is good. It's good to be able to learn from it and win."

West Virginia was able to use its grit and determination to mount a comeback from a double-digit second half deficit for the second time this season. In addition to Miles and Carter, Devin Williams and Puerto Rico native Gary Browne made several key plays down the stretch to help the Mountaineers put the game away.

Williams and Staten finished the game tied with Carter for a team-high with 15 points. Williams added three rebounds while Staten had four assists. Jonathan Holton scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds.

Hanlan led BC in the loss, scoring 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting with three assists.

West Virginia will have the chance to earn its first non-conference win against a ranked team since the Mountaineers beat then-No. 8 Purdue at the Coliseum in the 2011-12 season. WVU will take on a No. 17 Connecticut team that beat Dayton 75-64 to get to the title game.

The game will tip off at 6:30 EST and will air on ESPN2.


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