Alexander Scores 22 To Lead WVU

Joe Alexander's potential was typically greater than his play – until now.

Alexander scored 22 points, one off his career high, to lead West Virginia to a 110-44 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday. It marked the third time in five games he has hit double digits after disappearing in the postseason last year, when he averaged less than four points in seven games.

Now, under first-year head coach Bob Huggins, a rejuvenated Alexander has added 20 pounds and is playing the best basketball of his collegiate career. He showcased his entire arsenal during a 22-1 run that put West Virginia (4-1) ahead 46-13 with 2:52 left. Alexander dunked twice – once of an inbounds pass – and hit a jumper and an inside basket to score eight points during the push.

"I think I had the right mindset tonight," said Alexander, who compared WVU's offense last year to a complex puzzle he had to solve. "I was in a good place to be mentally and I want to try and maintain that for the next couple games at least."

Alexander made 10 of 16 shots, and had already set a career high on a foul line jumper with more than 14 minutes remaining. It was part of a 61.6 shooting percentage overall. He missed his second consecutive double-double, and just the third of his career, by finishing with eight rebounds.He also had a pair of blocked shots.

"I haven't really focused on blocked shots at all," Alexander said. "It has just happened. But the double-double, I didn't get it by two rebounds. I was kind of upset about that."

Alex Ruoff added 17 points and John Flowers came off the bench to score 14 for West Virginia, which won its 17th consecutive regular season nonconference game. Five Mountaineers reached double figures. Denzel Jackson and Ed Tyson scored 10 apiece for Maryland-Eastern Shore (1-6), which has lost 33 of its last 38 games.

Maryland-Eastern Shore never scored more than four consecutive points and shot a season-worst 25.5 percent in missing 41 of 55 shots. West Virginia had 31 assists and tallied 10 blocks and 11 steals.

"I thought our shot selection was pretty good until the end," Huggins said. "You can see when we get where we are supposed to get to that it's very hard for people to stop the offense."

The 66-point win was the largest in 40 years and came just three games after WVU set the same mark with a 106-41 win over Prairie View A&M. The 110 regulation points were the most by West Virginia since it beat Puerto Rico-Mayaguez 111-63 in 1997. WVU had season-high 95 points against UMES last year.

"I thought we had three or four possessions today where we ran the offense better than we have all year," Huggins said. "It had to do with us not holding the ball, not being tentative or apprehensive. I just assume we'll see five players in double figures. You're harder to guard that way."

The Mountaineers, ahead 52-18 at the half, led by as many as 70 on Flowers' free throw with 1:56 left that made it 106-36. West Virginia had a 45-31 advantage in rebounding and scored 52 points in the paint. It also turned 27 UMES turnovers into a season-best 44 points.


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