Colonials humbled by powerful WVU

Chris Moss won't talk about his domination of lesser non-conference foes. But the senior's strength, quickness and size have proven unstoppable in WVU's first seven games.

The 6-8 Moss, a power forward who plays much bigger than his size, scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds Saturday to lead West Virginia (6-1) to a 102-86 win over Robert Morris (2-6). Drew Schifino added 18 points

"You can't simulate it with the scout team," first-year Robert Morris head coach Mark Schmidt said. "We can't simulate how fast, how quick he is. It's a problem."

Moss, who hit eight of 12 shots and 10 of 12 free throws, is shooting a team-high 62 percent from the field. His average of 19 points per game leads the team, and he is the only inside force WVU has.

"I think he has been really strong," forward Chaz Briggs, who had 11 points, said. "We are not helping him as much as we should be. He is carrying the load right now."

Moss answered every time Robert Morris threatened to get back in the game.

The senior was fouled on a made reverse layup and hit the free throw to give slow-starting WVU a 26-19 lead with 9:16 to play.

Robert Morris' Ricky Richburg answered with a jumper before the Mountaineers pieced together a 21-5 run over the next five minutes. That extended their lead to 47-26 with 4:03 left in the half.

Moss tallied four points, including a tip-in off a missed free throw, during the run. Chris Garnett added all six of his first half points.

Later the Colonials trimmed the lead to 58-50 on Aaron Thomas' three-pointer with 15:56 left. WVU did not score for more than three minutes.

But Moss managed to again answer with a three-point play to push the lead back to double figures. Schifino then added a quick six points to give WVU a 69-54 lead that sealed the game with 13:04 remaining.

"Moss was the main guy. He did his job," Schmidt said.

West Virginia's press, with Moss at the rear, frustrated the Colonials and led to 13 first half turnovers and 19 overall.

"A lot of them they just threw the ball away," said Moss of the turnovers. "We put a lot of pressure on them, and I guess they got nervous."

RMC was outrebounded 48-36.

"They really came after us, with a 2-2-1, a 1-3-1 press," Schmidt said. "The game was lost in the first half."

Schifino's three-pointer with 11:26 left in the first half gave West Virginia the lead for good. He hit eight of 11 shots and grabbed five rebounds.

WVU led 56-35 at the half, then managed to again lead by 20, at 86-66, on Moss' putback with 7:21 remaining.

"That worried me a bit," WVU head coach Gale Catlett said of the poor second half start. "I wasn't at all happy with our starters."

Jonathan Hargett, an athletic freshman point guard, added 11 points. It was the one he missed which was remembered.

Moving downcourt on a second half break, Hargett threw the ball off the backboard, jumped, and caught the ball with one hand while approaching the basket. His tomahawk dunk attempt hit off the rim.

"I haven't seen him try it in practice," Briggs said. "It would have been spectacular if he would have made it. It was exciting to see something like that. There are not too many players that take a chance like that. He's got a lot of balls to do something like that."

Moss, who said he was watching the play, was called for a foul.

"It's more a playground move," Moss said. "I haven't seen him do it before. It's not something he practices. I was checking the play out, too."

Chaz McCrommon came off the bench to lead Robert Morris with 17 points. Maurice Carter added 14 points and Tyler Bacon scored 13 points and added a team-high five rebounds.

It was West Virginia's 14th consecutive win over Robert Morris. The Colonials have not won a non-conference game in 14 tries.

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