West Virginia dispatched Winthrop by a final of 70-53, thanks in no small part to our BlueGoldNews.com Player of the Game.
Though the product on the court was anything but pretty, the Mountaineers still managed to down pesky Winthrop, the three-time defending Big South Champions. Leading the way was junior forward Joe Alexander for the third straight game.
The 6'8", 230 pound Mt. Airy, Md. product has made something of a leap over the past three games, and continued his recent success with his second double-double in three games. Alexander scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in West Virginia's 70-53 win over the Eagles. While his production was certainly evident on the stat sheet, perhaps the best thing about Alexander's game was the way in which he got said points and rebounds. The high-flying junior once again let the game come to him, not forcing anything on either end of the court and playing well within himself as the Mountaineers overcame a cold shooting night from the field.
The Mountaineers weren't the only team who found a lid on the basket for much of the game. Winthrop managed just four field goals in the first half as West Virginia's improved man-to-man defense limited the Eagles to just 19 percent from the field, including one of five from downtown. In total, Winthrop finished the game shooting just 29.8 percent in the losing effort.
For the season, the Mountaineers are holding opponents to just 32 percent shooting from the floor, and 28 percent from three-point range.
West Virginia's point guard duo of Darris Nichols and Joe Mazzulla repeatedly drove to the bucket throughout the game, setting up themselves and teammates for easy baskets. Nichols finished with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a pair of blocked shots in a team-high 37 minutes of play. Mazzulla added 10 points, three assists, and two steals while getting to the foul line a team-high eight times.
The football-basketball double-header on Saturday certainly boosted attendance at the Coliseum. The Mountaineers played in front of 8,559 mostly gold-clad fans. Parts of the student section in the lower bowl, though, remained sparsely occupied.