West Virginia Mountaineers

West Virginia guard Teyvon Myers (0), left, Manhattan guard Zavier Turner (3), center, and forward Calvin Crawford (14), right, dive for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
AP Photo/Raymond Thompson

No. 25 West Virginia forces 40 turnovers in win

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Ever since Bob Huggins transformed his program from West Virginia to “Press Virginia,” the Mountaineers have been the best nationally in turning opponents over.

The Mountaineers took it to another level Monday night.

Manhattan committed 40, yes 40, turnovers in its 108-61 loss to West Virginia in Morgantown as the Mountaineers set a school-record for forced turnovers.

The 25th-ranked Mountaineers (5-1) no doubt were motivated Monday coming off their first loss of the season against Temple last week, but this is some serious savagery.

The Jaspers gave the ball back to West Virginia on an astounding 44 percent of their possessions for the game. They came into the contest rather turnover prone – ranking 343rd nationally in giveaways – so this was pretty much a nightmare scenario for them. An angry West Virginia against a team already loose with the ball was bound to produce some turnovers. It just turned out it was 40 of them.

Esa Ahmad had five steals, plus 19 points, for West Virginia and five other Mountaineers had two.

The Mountaineers ranked first in turning opponents over in the first season of their reincarnation as a pressing squad in 2014-15 and were second last year. The trend has continued this season – as evidenced Monday, obviously – and it’s almost as if West Virginia may even be perfecting this style of play with two years of playing it now under their belt.

The scheme will see an interesting test this weekend when the Mountaineers host No. 6 Virginia, who play as methodically and precisely as any team in the country, on Saturday.

Enechionyia lifts Temple over No. 19 West Virginia, 81-77

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25:  Obi Enechionyia #0 of the Temple Owls drives to the basket on Brandon Watkins #20 of the West Virginia Mountaineers in the second half during the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center on November 25, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) Obi Enechionyia had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead Temple to an 81-77 upset of No. 19 West Virginia in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Friday.

Enechionyia scored 18 of his 22 in the first half for Temple (4-2), but it was his free throw with one second left that sealed the early season tournament championship. Alani Moore II added 18 points for the Owls, while Daniel Dingle had 15 and Quinton Rose 12.

Despite having four players finish in double-digit scoring, West Virginia (4-1) lost for the first time this season. Ahmad led the Mountaineers with 19 points, Teyvon Myers added 15, and Nathan Adrian and Tarik Phillip had 13 apiece.

The 71st meeting between the programs saw Temple enjoy a 45-25 advantage at halftime thanks to two extended stretches in which the Owls held the Mountaineers scoreless.

Following Phillip’s layup 1:29 into the game, West Virginia did not score for 5:28 until Adrian’s layup at 13:09. During that stretch, the Owls outscored the Mountaineers 13-0. Then, after Ahmad’s layup with 5:28 left in the half, Temple scored the next nine points until Phillip knocked down a 3 to cut the deficit to 38-23.

The Owls held West Virginia to 32.3 percent shooting from the field – including 27.3 percent from 3-point range – in the first half. Temple also forced West Virginia into 11 first-half turnovers.

Trailing by 20, West Virginia ratcheted up its trademark press defense in the second half. After Phillip drilled a 3 in front of the Mountaineers’ bench, causing Temple coach Fran Dunphy to call timeout with 11:31 left, West Virginia was credited with nine forced turnovers in 8 1/2 minutes.

The timeout did not stem West Virginia’s tide, as the Mountaineers scored 13 of the next 17 points to take a 65-64 lead. It was their first advantage since opening the game on a 7-0 run. An Ahmad layup pushed the advantage to 67-64.

But Temple would not go away.

The Owls took a 75-71 lead on the strength of an 11-4 run spanning 2:36. Moore made four free throws in the stretch, and Rose added two free throws and a jumper.

The final 4:44 saw Moore play a pivotal role. The 5-foot-10 guard grabbed three rebounds and made two free throws to set the stage for Enechionyia.

Enechionyia was named the Most Outstanding Player of the two-day tournament. He was selected for the All-Tournament team along with Dingle, Ahmad, Florida State’s Dwayne Bacon and Illinois’ Malcolm Hill.

BIG PICTURE

Temple: Two strong performances against Top 25 teams can only bode well for Dunphy’s team once American Athletic Conference play begins.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers’ first four games were blowout victories. Being forced to play a possession-by-possession game in the second half could benefit West Virginia over the course of the season.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Temple: The Owls beat the No. 25 and No. 19 teams in the nation on consecutive days. That may be enough for them to sneak into the Top 25.

West Virginia: A four-point loss to an unranked team should not cause West Virginia to drop out of the Top 25.

NOTABLE

Temple: The Owls came into the game having defeated No. 25 Florida State a day earlier. The win allowed Temple to extend its streak of defeating a Top 25 team to 10 years in a row.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers entered the game leading the nation with 13.7 steals and 27 forced turnovers per game. Their 15.7 turnover margin was also best in the nation.

UP NEXT

Temple: Visits Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday.

West Virginia: Hosts Manhattan on Monday.

More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

West Virginia adds Ohio forward to ’17 class

Bob Huggins
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West Virginia has started its 2017 recruiting class in a big way.

The Mountaineers received a commitment from 6-foot-8 power forward Derek Culver of Ohio on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

Culver, a consensus top-60 recruit, picked Bob Huggins’ program over offers from Indiana, Memphis and Clemson, among others.

West Virginia made Derek Culver a priority,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said, “and the move paid off as Bob Huggins has a really talented big man in the fold in the Class of 2017.

“Culver runs the floor well and has a high skill level but he needs to be more aggressive on both ends of the floor. Culver has a lot of upside and could be molded into a very good player at West Virginia. He’s one of the better passing big men in the class.”

Culver, who visited WVU earlier this summer, follows in the footsteps of fellow Ohio big man Esa Ahmad, who started every game last year for the Mountaineers after starring at Shaker Heights in Cleveland. West Virginia will likely have significant frontcourt depth for the 2017-18 season, but will need to reinforcements shortly thereafter. 

No. 11 West Virginia upsets No. 1 Kansas

West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip (12) fouls Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
(AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
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West Virginia pressed and physically beat down No. 1 Kansas on Tuesday night as the No. 11 Mountaineers pulled off the 74-63 upset at home. Always a tough matchup for the Jayhawks, West Virginia now owns three consecutive wins over Kansas in Morgantown.

Jumping out to an early lead and never relenting, West Virginia was simply the more aggressive team on both ends of the floor. The Mountaineers crashed the offensive glass for a 15-7 advantage in that category and forced 21 Kansas turnovers. As the No. 1 team in the country, the Jayhawks were thought to have a strong backcourt with veteran leadership but Frank Mason and Wayne Selden combined for 13 turnovers and looked shaky against West Virginia’s guards.

West Virginia (15-1, 4-0) had a strong efforts from Jaysean Paige (24 points, four rebounds, four steals) and Devin Williams (17 points, 12 rebounds) as they looked like a potential threat in the Big 12. Their press is obviously difficult to handle, but this team really plays well together and has a tremendous attitude at all times.

Early in the game, the Mountaineers set the tone by constantly attacking the basket and drawing fouls. It helped West Virginia win the free-throw battle, as they were 32-for-46 from the charity stripe while Kansas was only 13-for-21

Perry Ellis was the leader for Kansas, as he finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. But credit has to go to West Virginia’s defense with making it difficult for Ellis to get touches so the Kansas offense could not go through him. With guards like Mason and Selden forced to make plays off the dribble, it made it difficult for the Jayhawks offense to function and they looked disoriented. Mason finished with 12 points while Selden added 11 points.

The Jayhawks (14-2, 3-1) still have plenty of time to fix their press break and re-tool their offense to face a pressure-oriented defense, but this loss was still a bit concerning. Their veteran guards looked flustered, and although Kansas has barely seen any press situations this year, they should have handled it better.

West Virginia has a chance to make another statement later this week when they take a trip to No. 2 Oklahoma. They’re already at 4-0 in the Big 12 with two road wins and a win over Kansas, so that’s certainly as good of a start as Bob Huggins could have hoped for. Paige is a major sparkplug off the bench and Williams continues to be one of the more underrated big men in the country on a national level.

No. 20 West Virginia beats Marshall 86-68

West Virginia’s Devin Williams (41) shoots a layup against Marshall during an NCAA college basketball game in Charleston, W.Va., on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. West Virginia won 86-68. (AP Photo Tyler Evert)
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) Jevon Carter scored 15 points and No. 20 West Virginia used its depth to wear down Marshall for an 86-68 victory Thursday night.

West Virginia (9-1) took control with a 16-1 run early in the second half to beat its intrastate rival for the fifth straight year and for the ninth time in 10 tries.

Daxter Miles Jr. added 14 points, Elijah Macon had 12, and Tarik Phillip 11.

Ryan Taylor led Marshall (3-7) with 15 points. Jon Elmore added 14, and James Kelly had 11.

Marshall had won three straight.

Kelly, Marshall’s leading scorer, went to the bench with a left knee injury early in the second half. He returned six minutes later still limping.

The Thundering Herd went nearly eight minutes between baskets and the turnovers started to pile up.

West Virginia leads the country in offensive rebounds at 18 per game and got plenty of second chances against Marshall.

The Mountaineers made four baskets off of rebounds during the key run, including Nathan Adrian’s putback for a 53-39 lead with 10:50 left.

West Virginia’s lead grew to as many as 23 points down the stretch.

The Mountaineers’ Devin Williams was held to nine points, the first time this season he failed to reach double digits. He spent most of the game in foul trouble.

Marshall made half of its 12 3-point tries over the first 13 minutes to jump ahead 26-21. But Marshall couldn’t sustain any production from its reserves, especially when Kelly and Taylor were out of the game in foul trouble. West Virginia held a 38-12 advantage in bench points.

West Virginia went on a 7-0 run late in the half and took a 35-32 lead at halftime.

TIP-INS:

West Virginia: West Virginia outrebounded Marshall 48-32, including 22 on the offensive end. … The Mountaineers matched their 9-1 start of last season, when they finished 25-10.

Marshall: Taylor became the 50th Thundering Herd player to surpass 1,000 points.

UP NEXT:

West Virginia: Home against Eastern Kentucky on Monday.

Marshall: Plays Wyoming in Las Vegas on Monday.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 18 SMU, No. 20 West Virginia win

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins gestures to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Marshall in Charleston, W.Va., on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Tyler Evert)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: South Dakota 92, Milwaukee 91 (2OT)

Fittingly it was Wisconsin native Tre Burnette (Madison) who made the deciding play, as his floater in the finals seconds of double overtime gave the Coyotes the one-point win over the Panthers in Milwaukee. D.J. Davis and Tyler Hagerdorn scored 17 apiece to lead five USD players in double figures, while Milwaukee’s Matt Tiby led all scorers with 31 points while also grabbing 17 rebounds.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 20 West Virginia 86, Marshall 68: The Mountaineers pulled away in the second half of this in-state battle, beating the Thundering Herd by 18 after leading by just three at the half. Bob Huggins’ team scored 50 second-half points, with Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. leading a balanced offensive effort with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Ryan Taylor led Marshall with 15 points, but the big news for them moving forward is the left knee injury suffered by forward James Kelly. Kelly, who finished with 11 points, left the game in the second half and was not at full strength when he returned some six minutes later.

No. 18 SMU 105, Hampton 72: Like WVU the Mustangs, playing their final game without suspended head coach Larry Brown, pulled away in the second half. SMU scored 62 points in the game’s final 20 minutes, and all six players who attempted a shot scored in double figures. Sterling Brown led all scorers with 23 points (10-for-11 FG) and Jordan Tolbert added 20 along with 19 rebounds. Larry Brown will be back on the sidelines for the 9-0 Mustangs when they host Kent State Tuesday night.

STARRED

Jordan Tolbert, SMU: Tolbert finished with 20 points and 19 rebounds in a win over Hampton.

Henry Caruso, Princeton: Caruso scored 29 points on 10-for-14 shooting from the field and grabbed nine rebounds in the Tigers’ 77-72 win over Liberty.

Matt Tiby, Milwaukee: One of the top players in the Horizon League, Tiby was highly productive in the Panthers’ one-point loss to South Dakota. He finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds.

STRUGGLED

Armel Potter, Charleston Southern: Potter shot 1-for-12 from the field in the Buccaneers’ 71-65 loss at Wright State.

Chace Franklin, Jackson State: Franklin scored eight points but did so on 3-for-15 shooting in the Tigers’ loss at Ohio.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • Deckie Johnson racked up 26 points and four assists to lead North Texas to an 87-74 win over Mississippi Valley State. The Delta Devils dropped to 0-13 on the season as a result.
  • Middle Tennessee limited Belmont to 37.7 percent shooting from the field, winning by a final score of 83-62. Perrin Buford led the way offensively with 20 points while also grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out three assists.
  • In a matchup of struggling teams Rodney Pryor scored 20 points to lead Robert Morris to a 69-67 win over Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks played without injured junior forward Tim Kempton (right foot).
  • Ohio moved to 7-3 on the season with a 72-67 win over Jackson State. Jaaron Simmons scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Bobcats.
  • Jameel Warney scored 22 points, shooting 10-for-12 from the field, to lead Stony Brook to an 86-68 win at American.
  • D.J. Balentine became the fourth player in Evansville program history to surpass the 2,000-point mark, scoring 26 points in the Purple Aces’ 84-70 win over Norfolk State.
  • Katin Reinhardt scored 22 of his 29 points in the first half as USC beat Cal Poly, 101-82. Six Trojans scored in double figures and Julian Jacobs, who sat out their last game with tendonitis in his Achilles, dished out 13 assists.