WVU Downs Latvia In Exhibition Opener

Drew Schifino scored 28 points to lead West Virginia to a 94-55 exhibition win over Latvia Select in new head coach John Beilein's first game Monday.

Schifino, who made all nine of his first-half shots from the floor, scored WVU's first 11 points as the Mountaineers jumped to an early 14-2 lead. A 12-3 Latvia Select run pulled it to within 17-14, but a 13-0 run, capped by consecutive three-pointers by Schifino, pushed WVU's advantage to 30-14 with 5:35 to play in the first half.

"Drew came out smoking," Beilein siad after the game. "It was good for him and good for the team."

Latvia Select never got closer than 14 points after Schifino's run. Schifino also made all four of his free throws to score 23 of his 28 points by halftime.

WVU had four other players in double-figures, led by Chaz Briggs' 16 points. Josh Yeager came off the bench to score 13.

West Virginia's offensive change under Beilein was evident early. The Mountaineers hit six three-pointers by the break, more than any game last season, and finished 13 of 24 for 54.7 percent. WVU's high all of last season was 10 against James Madison and New Mexico.

But Beilein's European-style perimeter offense was sloppy early and blew two fast breaks. It never managed to develop an inside game, its known weakness, and was outrebounded 34-28.

The Mountaineers new-look 1-3-1 zone defense smothered Latvia Select's perimeter game to swing the contest to WVU. Latvia made just four of 15 three-pointers and couldn't develop offensive consistency.

Tyrone Sally's lay-in with 3:53 left in the game gave West Virginia an 85-49 lead, its largest of the game. The Mountaineers made two more three-pointers for their final points.

Every Mountaineer saw playing time. Latvia Select, now 1-2, was led by Aigars Bernats with 20 points. Airosius Svajunas and Ugis Vilmus each added 11.

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