On a roster full of youth, it was a crafty veteran who left his mark on the season opener.
Junior point guard Darris Nichols led the Mountaineers to a season-opening victory over Mount St. Mary's. Nichols had a game-high 14 points on 5-9 shooting, including a pair of three point baskets. The Radford, Va. native filled out his complete stat line with four assists, three rebounds, and just one turnover in 36 minutes of play.
The co-captain also showed a willingness to play aggressive on the offensive end of the court, which will be important not only for him but for the team throughout the 2006-2007 season.
The first net burner goes to senior center Rob Summers. The Penn State transfer played 22 minutes, and contributed seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocked shots. Though he did not score, Rob did all of the little things that helped the Mountaineers win.
Freshman forward Da'Sean Butler had an impressive debut. The New Jersey native scored 11 points, and snared five rebounds in 21 minutes of action. Butler provided a solid presence as the sixth man, something the Mountaineers need with Patrick Beilein no longer coming off of the bench.
Finally, West Virginia did an outstanding job in a number of statistical categories. First off, the home team outrebounded their opponents by a count of 40-36. Included in those 40 rebounds were 18 on the offensive end of the court. The blue and gold also handed out 11 assists on 17 field goals.
West Virginia also took several charges, and did a good job of getting deflections out of the 1-3-1 zone.