CHARLESTON, W.Va. (93-7 The FAN/AP) — Kevin Jones scored 23 points and West Virginia broke out to a big lead early and coasted to an 83-48 win over Morehead State on Tuesday night.
Truck Bryant added 14 points and Deniz Kilicli and freshman Gary Browne scored 10 apiece for the Mountaineers.
In the third-ever meeting between the schools and first since 1981, West Virginia (3-1) raced ahead 20-4 less than 8 minutes into the game.
The Mountaineers led by as many as 37 points in the second half.
Terrance Hill scored 24 points for Morehead State (1-3), which has two losses of more than 30 points this season.
West Virginia shot 53 percent (28 of 53) from the floor and forced 23 turnovers.
Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins is still trying to figure out a lineup that includes eight freshmen. Jones has carried the scoring load so far and he and Kilicli, a junior, are combining for nearly half of the team’s rebounds.
West Virginia held a 40-22 rebounding advantage, led by Jones’ 10.
The Mountaineers won’t win many games on free throws alone. West Virginia made 19 of 31 (61 percent), including 9 of 21 in the first half.
Jones sank two free throws to cap an 11-2 run for the Mountaineers to open the second half for a 52-24 lead with 15:47 remaining.
Morehead State’s best moments came when Marsell Holden hit 3-pointers 28 seconds apart during a 10-2 run after that to cut the deficit to 66-41, but the Eagles then went without a basket over a 5-minute stretch.
Five different players scored for West Virginia during the Mountaineers’ ensuing 13-0 run to push their lead to 77-41 with 4:06 left.
Morehead State won the Ohio Valley Conference tournament last season and upset Louisville in the NCAA Tournament. But the Eagles are trying to figure out how to make up for the loss of departed senior Kenneth Faried, who averaged 17.5 points per game last season.
Jones made a layup and a 3-pointer during West Virginia’s 17-0 run in the game’s opening minutes.
Hill, the only Morehead State player averaging in double figures, sparked the Eagles with three 3-pointers in a three-minute span to cut the deficit to 33-20 with 5 minutes left until halftime. But Hill got little help. No other Eagles player scored in double figures.
West Virginia slowly pulled away after that.
The Mountaineers usually make the two-hour trip south to Charleston twice a year. West Virginia also will face Marshall in the schools’ annual intrastate rivalry in January.