WVU rips Robert Morris with second-half burst
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins had seen enough.
He was ticked off with his starters' focus and intensity.
So, after the Mountaineers allowed Robert Morris forward Russell Johnson to hit an uncontested 3-pointer to cut the lead to one and Huggins was forced to call a timeout 24 seconds into the second half because Darryl Bryant was left alone to inbounds the ball, Huggins sent a message.
He put in his bench, and the team responded.
West Virginia then went on a 23-4 run to break to open a close game, and the Mountaineers rolled to an 82-49 victory over Robert Morris on Tuesday at the WVU Coliseum.
"We were just so stagnant," Huggins said. "We didn't make hard cuts. We didn't pass the ball. We didn't rebound the ball. And we just stood around.
"I was kind of tired of seeing it. I told them at halftime that I was going to find someone that was going to play the way we want to play. All I said was give me five more guys, and whoever went in, went in. I looked out on the court ... and didn't know how we were going to score."
But the second unit of Deniz Kilicli, Joe Mazzulla, Jonnie West, Cam Thoroughman and Dalton Pepper took care of that. They combined to score 35 points, which provided the Mountaineers (6-2) the needed spark to put away the smaller Colonials (3-5).
"Clearly, the bigger, faster and stronger players for West Virginia continually wore down our guys," Robert Morris coach Andrew Toole said. "Obviously, their game plan was to throw it inside over and over again, and that's exactly what they did. We just didn't have much of an answer for it."
Robert Morris was able to stay close in the first half, trailing, 32-28, at halftime.
Toole said his team defended better. But he felt the Colonials' second half scoring woes affected their defense.
"I thought we stopped fighting in the second half, and that's scary for a coach," Toole said. "I think one of the trademarks of this program over the last few years is that we've always kept fighting. Once we missed some shots, we allowed our offense to dictate how we defended."
Yann Charles and Coron Williams each scored 11 points for Robert Morris, which will host Youngstown State at 7 p.m. Saturday.
"We just didn't match their intensity," Charles said. "It was frustrating once we got down in the second half. I don't think we had a letdown when they put in the second team. We just had too many breakdowns."
Three WVU starters: Casey Mitchell, Dan Jennings and Kevin Jones never saw the floor after Huggins went to his bench. Bryant and John Flowers, who each finished with 12 points, did return.
Kilicli led West Virginia with 14 points — 12 in the second half.
The return of Karon Abraham didn't go well for Robert Morris.
Abraham, who served a four-game suspension for breaking team rules, was booed by the West Virginia students every time he touched the ball, and he missed all five of his shooting attempts.
Gary Wallace (broken finger) and Lawrence Bridges (concussion) didn't dress for the Colonials.