MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Derek Culver scored 18 points, Oscar Tshiebwe had 12 points and 15 rebounds and No. 9 West Virginia used its size advantage to beat Northeastern 73-51 on Tuesday.
Emmitt Matthews added 13 points for the Mountaineers (8-2).
Tyson Walker scored 10 points for Northeastern (1-5) but was held seven points below his team-leading average.
West Virginia added Tuesday’s game after Buffalo canceled for the same date due to COVID-19 concerns. It was the only game on West Virginia’s schedule over a 10-day period, and coach Bob Huggins wanted to give some of his reserves valuable court time before the heart of the Big 12 schedule.
Northeastern made the Mountaineers earn it.
The Huskies scored the first two baskets of the second half to trim an eight-point deficit to 34-31. But Northeastern got sloppy with the ball and its momentum quickly fell apart.
Culver, Tshiebwe and Matthews put on a display of inside strength with a variety of layups and putbacks to help the Mountaineers gain control. Culver’s steal and dunk gave West Virginia a 59-39 lead with 8:40 remaining and Northeastern got no closer than 15 the rest of the game.
The trio combined to shoot 18 of 26 from the floor. The rest of the team went 13 of 46 (28%).
Tshiebwe had his second double-double of the season after amassing 10 as a freshman. He was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder a year ago, but his production has dropped and he entered Tuesday’s game averaging 8.1 points – fifth on the team – and seven rebounds.
The Mountaineers held a 45-34 rebounding advantage. Northeastern had 19 turnovers.
Northeastern: The Huskies have two players averaging in double figures for points, not enough production to keep up with most teams over a full game.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers seemed to get a lot of things fixed after nothing went right in the second half of a 79-65 loss at No. 3 Kansas on Dec. 22. Their next test is a pair of league road games two days apart.
Northeastern hosts Elon on Saturday.
West Virginia plays at Oklahoma on Saturday.