WVU's talent too much for UNC-A

West Virginia's players were anxious for the opener against UNC Asheville. It showed.

The Mountaineers (1-0), thought by experts to have its deepest and most talented team since the 1996 Sweet 16 group, jumped to an 18-11 lead in its 83-57 win Friday before piecing together a 21-2 run to lead 39-13 and put the game away with four minutes left in the first half.

"In the first half there wasn't too much I could be unhappy about," West Virginia head coach Gale Catlett said. "I didn't think it would be that easy. I was surprised we played that well. Glad we did."

Chris Moss, who had a double-double in the first half, finished with a game-high 22 points and 15 rebounds. Big East Newcomer of the Year Jonathan Hargett scored 16 points, 12 on three-pointers.

Freshman Drew Schifino, one of three heralded newcomers, scored all nine of his first half points during the run and tallied 12 total points and four steals.

"We played the way we needed to," Moss said. "The anticipation of this season is the most since I have been here. I think this team should go to the NCAAs."

West Virginia looked the part, beating the less talented Bulldogs (0-1) to loose balls and forcing 24 turnovers while registering 21 assists. It led 46-20 at the break.

We didn't test West Virginia, we didn't make them play," UNC-Asheville head coach Eddie Biedenbach said. "We have good players. They just didn't show it tonight. They could have whipped us a lot more."

West Virginia, worried about UNC Asheville's outside shooting ability, extended its defense early to pressure the guards. It worked, as only one Bulldogs guard, Andre Smith, finished in double digits. He had 10 points. Forward Colin Shaw led UNC-A with 13.

"I thought we could beat them at their own game," WVU shooting guard Lionel Armstead said.

The Mountaineers shot 50.8 percent from the floor to the Bulldogs' 46.0 and hit five more three-pointers. Armstead finished with eight points and West Virginia's back court outscored UNC-A's 36-19.

The Mountaineers began turning the ball over in the second half and UNC-Asheville pulled to within 19 points with 7:39 remaining. West Virginia then closed with a 10-3 spurt to finish the contest.

"I thought we had flashes of how good we can be and flashes of how bad we can be," Moss said. "We did a bit of both."

The Bulldogs dropped to 0-6 all-time against Big East teams and 0-5 in season openers under Biedenbach. West Virginia won its fourth straight opener.

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