MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Esa Ahmad
made all seven of his field goal attempts to lead 25th
-ranked West Virginia with 19 points as the Mountaineers cruised to a 108-61 victory over Manhattan Monday night at the WVU Coliseum.
An announced crowd of 8,190 got to see coach Bob Huggins’ entire roster for a good portion of the second half after West Virginia built a 60-27 halftime lead.
“I thought we played pretty hard and we took better care of the ball for the most part,” said Huggins.
The Mountaineer defense forced Manhattan into committing a record 40 turnovers, the Jaspers spreading their miscues across the board. The frontcourt of Zavier Turner and Zane Waterman had 19 of them and just one player put up a goose egg in the TO column, that being A.K. Ojo in a clean seven minutes of action.
Even “Team” got into the turnover column tonight for Manhattan.
he’s given so much to our program,” said Huggins. “He gets other guys in the gym and he’s got such a great work ethic so it was great to be able to get him in a little bit in the first half and play as much as he did in the second half.”
All 15 players who got into the game scored and 62 of the team’s 108 points came from the bench. It’s the third time this season West Virginia, now 5-1, has eclipsed the century mark this season.
Including today’s game, the Mountaineers are now averaging 94.7 points per game.
“It was good to get some of those other guys in and get them some minutes,” said Huggins.
Ahmad, coming off a 19-point performance in last Friday afternoon’s 81-77 loss to Temple, continued his strong play tonight. He has made 15 of his last 20 field goal attempts in career-high-duplicating performances.
“He gets better all the time, we’ve just got pushing up those expectations and try to keep that motor running that way all the time,” said Huggins. “We all know he’s a talented guy and I really think he’s got a great advantage in this league being a 6-foot-7 three-man because there aren’t very many of them.”
WVU shot 47.3 percent for the game and also hit 30 of 43 from the free throw line for 69.8 percent, an improvement over the 60.5 percent the team was shooting coming into tonight’s game.
Manhattan, now 2-4, got 11 points from Xavier Peart.
Huggins is inching closer to 800 career victories, the veteran coach now four wins shy of one of college basketball’s biggest milestones. Just eight major college coaches have achieved 800 wins and just three, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, are still active.
Huggins will try to get win No. 797 this Saturday. That one will be considerably tougher to get, however, as the 6-0 Cavaliers are ranked sixth in the country with recent wins over Iowa and Providence.
Virginia faces Ohio State on Wednesday night before playing the Mountaineers Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPNU.