WVU bounces back, defeats FIU

Chris Moss and Lionel Armstead weren't the focus in West Virginia's first four games. That changed Saturday in the 74-61 win over Florida International.

Overshadowed by WVU's stellar recruiting class, they were afterthoughts and also-rans. But for the second consecutive home game the senior pair outplayed the freshmen and showed that experience can top raw talent.

Moss scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in dominating FIU (4-4) inside and Armstead added 15 points on three of five three-point shooting.

"Moss played excellent on both ends of the floor," WVU head coach Gale Catlett said. "He was good offensively and defensively. And Armstead's defense was excellent."

The senior pair hit eight of 13 shots to score 23 points and carry the Mountaineers (5-1)during a sloppy first half. The rest of the team shot 19 percent.

In all, Armstead was six for 10 shooting and Moss hit seven of 12 tries. The two combined to make 13 of 22 shots.

"He was the real difference in the game," Florida International head coach Donnie Marsh said of Moss. "I have to give him credit. He was the player tonight."

West Virginia's inside game -- which was mainly Moss -- dominated the smaller Golden Panthers. FIU was outrebounded 39-29 and two of its starters, Chris Carter and Fab Fisher, were held scoreless.

Slow starting West Virginia, conversely, got all its first-half points from starters.

Taurance Johnson, FIU's leading scorer with 20 points, gave the Golden Panthers a 21-19 lead at the 6:45 mark. It was their last.

West Virginia responded with a 17-2 run over the last 6:45 to lead 36-23 at the half. The Mountaineers held FIU scoreless for a 5:03 stretch using a confusing matchup zone that cut off penetration.

Armstead hit both of his first-half three-pointers during the push.

Hargett and Moss, who had eight rebounds, added seven flashy points. Moss had a pair of dunks and Hargett, who finished with four steals and six assists, had a driving layup and two no-look passes.

"He finds ways to get us involved," Armstead said of Hargett. "He's a real big key for this team. We operate off him."

Hargett, who had a quiet 13 points, drove the lane several times before either getting the ball inside to Moss or passing it back outside to Armstead, who was open on the wing.

"That run probably did determine the outcome of the game," Marsh said. "My kids played well, but with Moss, Hargett and Armstead we did not do a good job covering them. Those three carried the team."

West Virginia continued its uptempo play and wore Florida International down in the final 15 minutes with easy points off breakaways.

The Panthers made just two of nine three-pointers and were hurt by a lack of inside play.

WVU's bench finished with 14 points against FIU's 22. The Golden Panthers missed their only two free throws in the first half.

Rodrigo Viegas added 12 points and nine rebounds for FIU.

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