Oscar Tshiebwe’s 19 points helped boost West Virginia to their 10th victory as they defeated Youngstown State on the road, 75-64.
WVU’s big men were dominant, as Tshiebwe and the hometown man Derek Culver combined for 34 points on 68.1 percent shooting.
Overall, the West Virginia offense took some time to really come alive, while Youngstown State’s shooting kept the contest close. Darius Quisenberryhad a hot half, shooting 5-for-8 with 15 points to start — but he would be the only Penguin in double figures for the game.
West Virginia, on the other hand, didn’t have any double-figure scorers in the first half, and especially struggled from the free throw line (37.5 percent).
“We were trying to go too fast,” Tshiebwe said. “Coach [Huggins] would say, ‘Run the plays, run the plays,’ but we didn’t run [them] how were were supposed to run them.”
The Mountaineer frontcourt turned up in the second half, outscoring the Penguins 24-8 in the paint. Tshiebwe’s 14 second-half points were the most of any player in the period as he helped WVU get their offense going.
Culver played just 12 minutes in the second half and chipped in 6 points and 3 rebounds.
WVU really took their time to pull away in the second half, as they were unable to extend to a double-digit lead until the final score.
Culver enjoyed the win, but it meant quite a bit to him to get the victory in front of his home crowd.
“It felt good,” he said. “It was a lot of faces that I hadn’t seen in a long, long time out here to support me so it made me feel good.”
Along with all of the Culver supporters in the crowd, a large contingent of Mountaineer fans were in the arena as well, which seemed at times to neutralize the Penguins’ home-court advantage.
“It feels like that everywhere we go, honestly,” said Jermaine Haley. “I feel like we have the best fans in the nation honestly. We’re happy that they come out and fly, drive miles to support us, and we just want to come out and showcase what we can do every night for them.”
The Mountaineers are returning to the Buckeye State for their next matchup against No. 5 Ohio State, their first ranked matchup of the year.