Morgantown, WV (SportsNetwork.com) - The 21st-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers will try to continue their perfect run here in the early part of the season, as they host the College of Charleston Cougars in a non-bracketed game in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
The College of Charleston enters the contest a game under .500 (2-3), although the team is coming off a 61-60 win versus George Mason last Sunday in Puerto Rico. Prior to that, the Cougars dropped three straight. Following this game, CofC will return home to play three in a row, beginning on Tuesday against The Citadel.
West Virginia is 6-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 team started 11-0 on its way to the Final Four. The Mountaineers already have a couple of signature wins on their resume', as they outlasted ACC foe Boston College (70-66) two days prior to besting defending national champion Connecticut (78-68), the latter of which earned the team the championship trophy in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The team's most recent triumph came in a 103-72 decision against VMI this past Wednesday.
This bout marks the first meeting between these two schools in men's basketball.
Canyon Barry scored 17 points as the only starter to reach double figures, but three reserves turned the trick in support as the College of Charleston topped George Mason last weekend by a single point. Cameron Johnson added 13 points thanks to a perfect 3-of-3 showing from 3-point range, while Donovan Gilmore and Adjehi Baru chipped in with 10 points apiece for the Cougars, who shot 43.1 percent from the floor overall, but only 31.6 percent from beyond the arc and 57.9 percent from the foul line. CofC finished with a season-high 20 assists, and it took advantage of 17 turnovers by the Patriots.
Despite shooting a decent 38.1 percent from 3-point range, the Cougars are anything but an offensive juggernaut, averaging a meager 62 ppg. Fortunately, they are permitting just 60.8 ppg, with foes shooting only 39 percent from the floor, which includes a 29 percent effort from downtown. Baru and Anthony Stitt sit atop the team's scoring list at 12.0 ppg apiece, while Barry is close behind at 10.0 ppg. Baru also spearheads the Cougars' rebounding effort with 8.5 rpg.
Jevon Carter was about as hot as a player can be in West Virginia's recent win over VMI, as the freshman guard went 12-of-14 from the field, including three 3-pointers, to lead the team with 28 points. A feat made all the more impressive when you consider he did it all in only 17 minutes of action off the bench. Juwan Staten added 17 points and six assists, Jonathan Holton 13 points and seven rebounds, and Daxter Miles, Jr. and Tarik Phillip a dozen points each for the Mountaineers, who drained 51.9 percent of their total shots, including 8-of-18 long-range launches. WVU forced an eye-popping 36 turnovers, off of which it scored 41 points. The Mountaineers also dominated the scoring on the inside, 62-26, despite being outrebounded in the game, 44-36.
Staten is averaging 16 points and 4.5 assists per game to lead West Virginia in both categories, and he gets help from fellow double-digit scorers Devin Williams (11.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg), Holton (11.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.0 bpg) and Carter (10.5 ppg, 2.3 bpg). As a collective unit, the Mountaineers are putting up 81.5 ppg while allowing 63.5 ppg. They are being outshot on the average, .468 to .416, but they are +6.0 in rebounding margin, and thanks to the outlandish number of miscues by the Keydets, they are +12.8 in turnover differential.