Mountaineers topple NC State

New York, NY ( - Juwan Staten scored 24 points and Devin Williams added 16, leading 22nd-ranked West Virginia to an 83-69 win over North Carolina State in the Gotham Classic on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Jaysean Paige contributed 11 points off the bench before fouling out late in the contest for the Mountaineers (10-1), who have won three straight since their lone loss of the season, a 74-73 setback to LSU on Dec. 4.

Trevor Lacey tried to keep North Carolina State close with 24 points, while Anthony Barber added 16 in defeat. The Wolfpack (9-3) committed 23 turnovers and fell to 3-3 after opening with six straight wins.

North Carolina State started the second half with an 11-3 run and drew within 44-43 on a Lacey three, but a jumper by Staten was followed by a Paige steal and layup to extend the West Virginia lead back to five.

Lacey's tip-in with 10 1/2 minutes remaining made it a 54-53 game, but again the Mountaineers had an answer with seven straight points fueled by a Tarik Phillip triple.

The Wolfpack got only as close as six from there and trailed 71-64 with four minutes remaining when Phillip made a free throw. He missed the second, but Paige came up with the offensive rebound and Jonathan Holton drilled a three to extend the West Virginia lead to 10.

Another Holton triple with just over a minute remaining made it 81-67.

"This was really a good team win," said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, who notched his 750th career win.

North Carolina State held an 11-6 lead early, but West Virginia answered with the next seven points to move in front. It remained tight for the next couple of minutes, but Staten scored four in a 6-0 spurt that gave West Virginia a 24-18 lead and forced an NC State timeout.

The Wolfpack, though, managed only four free throws over the next few minutes as West Virginia continued to pull away. A tip-in by Paige provided the Mountaineers with a 32-22 advantage, then NC State clawed within 37-32 in the final minute.

Williams halted the momentum with a free throw for West Virginia and the Mountaineers came up with a steal as NC State was trying to run the clock down. Jevon Carter then banked a 3-pointer home at the buzzer to give West Virginia a 41-32 margin at the break.

"In the first half, their pressure bothered us," said NC State coach Mark Gottfried. "We played like a young team. We had 16 turnovers. We got in a hurry. I thought their defense sped us up. We did not play with a lot of poise and that was all to their credit. They did a nice job with their pressure. I thought in the second half we settled down and played. We handled the pressure much better."

Game Notes

Holton and Carter each finished with eight points for West Virginia, which shot 53.4 percent and connected on 7-of-13 from beyond the arc ... North Carolina State shot 55.6 percent and made 8-of-14 from 3-point range ... The Mountaineers improved to 10-7 all-time against North Carolina State ... West Virginia next plays Monday at home against Wofford, a team that beat NC State by a 55-54 margin last week ... North Carolina State will host Louisiana Tech on Tuesday.