West Virginia is a top-10 team for the first time since January of 2018.
Now the No. 8 Mountaineers (6-1) host Iowa State on Friday night, with a chance for their fourth straight win in their Big 12 opener.
West Virginia scored 52 first-half points in an 87-71 win over then-No. 19 Richmond on Sunday, and the Mountaineers made 58.1 percent of their shots.
Miles McBride led the way with 20 points and five assists, Taz Sherman added 15 points, and Derek Culver scored 10 points and led the Mountaineers with 11 rebounds.
“If we make shots, we’re pretty good. If we stop turning it over, we’re even better,” West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said. “We talk about we’re not even close to where we need to be, we talk about the fact that we’re going to go play in probably the hardest league in the country. We’re going to fly more miles than anybody in America other than Hawaii. So we’ve got to take care of ourselves. We continue to fight this COVID-19 thing by taking care of ourselves and not putting ourselves in harm’s way.”
McBride leads four Mountaineers with scoring averages in double figures at 14.6 points per game. Culver is averaging a double-double, with 13.9 points and 10.7 rebounds.
“It’s rough on him,” Huggins said of the 6-foot-10, 255-pound Culver. “They push him. They grab him. They hold him and do everything and I constantly get, ‘Well, he’s a big, strong guy.’ Well those big, strong guys, you call fouls for them, too.”
West Virginia’s only loss this season was to No. 1 Gonzaga.
The Cyclones (1-3 overall, 0-1 Big 12) lost their conference opener Tuesday, 74-65 at home to Kansas State. Thirteen first-half turnovers and a 14-point halftime deficit were too much for Iowa State to overcome.
Rasir Bolton scored a team-high 19 points for the Cyclones, who are 8-9 all-time against the Mountaineers.
“You could make a lot of thoughts you could put into it, but the bottom line is we’re 1-3 and 0-1 in the league, and defensively we’re not where we need to be right now,” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm told the Des Moines Register.
Bolton is one of two players in the nation averaging at least 15 points (he’s at 15.8), six assists, five rebounds and two steals per game.
The junior has made 59.2 percent of his shots this season and has scored in double figures in his last 10 games going back to last season.
This will be the third game of a five-game stretch being played over 12 days for the Cyclones, who are 3-8 against West Virginia in Prohm’s previous five seasons as head coach.
–Field Level Media