West Virginia had five players in double figures against hapless Maryland-Eastern Shore.
In a game like this where everything seemed to go the right way, there really is not a bad candidate on the roster for player of the game. In a close call, sophomore forward Wellington Smith gets the nod over several of his teammates.
Smith, coming off of an impressive showing back in his native New Jersey in the Legends Classic, was instant energy off the West Virginia bench against UMES. Smith finished with 12 points, five rebounds, and four blocked shots in 22 minutes of play. On both ends of the court, the athletic forward seemed to have even more bounce in his step than normal as he harrassed the Hawks defensively and flew to the rim on offense. Smith has also showed impressive touch from the outside in recent weeks, and Tuesday night was more of the same as he finised 2-3 from behind the three-point arc.
Smith wasn't the only Mountaineer reserve to have a big game. Freshman forward John Flowers scored 14 points in 15 minutes while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out four assists. In all, West Virginia's bench totaled 52 points, with every player who entered the game scoring at least one bucket.
Maryland-Eastern Shore left many on press row at the Coliseum wondering who was worse: the Hawks, or opening weekend opponent Prairie View A&M. Meredith Smith's team turned the ball over 27 times against West Virginia's man-to-man pressure, with the Mountaineers scoring 44 points off of those miscues. Making matters worse for UMES was the fact that it dished out just four assists against those 27 turnovers. According to the stat sheet, the Hawks also saw ten of their shots swatted away by West Virginia, though that number seemed more than a bit low.
Shooting from the outside does not look to be a problem for the Mountaineers, who who finished 12-20 from downtown against the Hawks. The foul line, however, is another story. West Virginia was just eight of 17 from the charity stripe. On the boards, though, West Virginia continued to show an improved effort. The Mountaineers had 45 rebounds against 31 for the Hawks, with junior Joe Alexander's eight boards leading the way. Alexander also led the team with 22 points.