WVU Duo Sparks Win

No matter where he plays, West Virginia guard Darris Nichols has control of the game.

The sparkling senior-to-be, who thrives at the point guard position, recorded a team high nine assists in just 18 minutes of playing time as the U.S. Athletes In Action team defeated Qatar 106-68 in the Jones Cup.

Despite limited practice time, Nichols showed his aplomb at mastering any offense by consistently getting the ball to teammates in scoring position.

Nicols added three rebounds and two steals against just one turnover, and had four points in the rout.

Fellow WVU backcourt mate Alex Ruoff utilized his increased playing time to good effect, making half of his ten shots from the field on his way to an 11-point game. He also had six rebounds, two assists and three steals as the U.S. team evened its record in the nine game tournament at 1-1.

Ruoff was one of six U.S. players in double figures in the contest.

The U.S. raced out to a an early 16-7 lead, and Ruoff then scored seven straight points to push the lead to 13.

The U.S. forced nine first quarter turnovers, while coming up with six steals of its own en route to a 30-18 advantage at the end of the first quarter. AIA finished +16 in turnover margin, forcing 28 Qatar miscues.

Qatar (0-2) outscored AIA 9-2 in the first three minutes of the second before Todd Hendley and Ruoff combined to score the next six points and push the lead back to double digits.

AIA ended the first half on a 17-2 run to take a 55-33 lead into the locker room. Ten of AIA's 12 players scored before halftime.

Qatar opened the third period with an 11-2 spurt to pull within 13 points in the first three minutes and trimmed the lead to 10 on two occasions, the last coming with 2:30 left in the period.

The U.S. rallied, however, and pushed its lead to 28 less than three minutes into the fourth period. It then topped 30, 92-60, on a put back by Tyler Wilkerson (Lexington, Ky./Marshall).

Zack Gibson (Grand Blanc, Mich./Michigan) put AIA over the 100-point mark after Brad Harris (Winston-Salem, N.C./Lee) buried his first 3-pointer of the tournament.

AIA next faces Korea on Wednesday, July 4, at 5:30 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. EDT).

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