A veteran, in the barest sense of the word, led West Virginia's 81-54 win over Fairmont State.
Sophomore Joe Alexander, displaying much more control and poise than a year ago, tallied 17 points and seven rebounds against the Falcons. Alexander appeared much more poised and under control as he soared over the shorter Fairmont State players for rebounds and shots.
Alexander showed his outstanding athletic ability early in the game. Coming downcourt on the left wing on a fast break, he took a pass and quickly outleaped his pursuers for a thunderous dunk. Alexander jumped so high that he had to duck his head to avoid being decapitated by the backboard.
On the evening, the much-improved sophomore was 7-11 from the field, including 3-6 from three-point range. His seven boards included three on the offensive end, and he also added an assist and a steal against just a single turnover in 27 minutes of action.
Alex Ruoff also had a very solid evening. The sophomore was 4-9 from the field, including 2-5 on three-pointers. He tallied ten points and three rebounds while dishing out an impressive six assists.
For a first game with such a young squad, West Virginia displayed excellent ball handling. The Mountaineers had just ten turnovers, with just three in the opening period. While Fairmont State helped those low numbers by playing zone for much of the game, it was good to see the youthful Mountaineers protect the ball.
Although he still did not attack the basket as much as desired, point guard Darris Nichols played an outstanding floor game. Stepping into his first starting role with ease, the understated Nichols dished out nine assists against just one turnover in 27 minutes of action. He also nailed three of four three-point attempts an corralled five rebounds on the defensive end, most of which came out of WVU's unexpected man to man defensive set.