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November 13, 2012

Crushed in The Kennel

While West Virginia opened a new season with a number of new faces on the court Monday night against No. 21 Gonzaga, the results were eerily similar to the way last season ended as the Mountaineers fell 50 to 84 in the tipoff marathon season opener inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.

West Virginia struggled on both ends of the floor against the Zags, as the Mountaineers shot 27.8 percent from the field while committing 18 turnovers, and allowing the Bulldogs to connect on 52 percent of their shots from the field including 9-16 from three to take a 45-18 lead into halftime that they wouldn't relinquish.

The Mountaineers were led in scoring by junior transfer Aaric Murray with 14-points, and was the only West Virginia player in double figures, while Jabarie Hinds added 9 points and Gary Browne scored 7 points. Gonzaga had four players in double figures led by Gary Bell (15), Guy Landy Edi (14), Kevin Pangos (13) and Elias Harris (11).

The game opened slowly for both teams as both teams struggled with rhythm early, combining to shoot 2-17 from the field in the first four minutes of the game, but while West Virginia would continue to struggle shooting, Gonzaga settled down after missing 11 of their first 12 attempts; the Bulldogs would connect on 6 of their next 7.

Much like last season's matchup, the three-pointer proved to be big for Gonzaga in the first half as a trio of three-pointers from the left side pushed the Bulldogs run to 14-0 and the lead out to 15-2, while the Mountaineers continued to be plagued by poor shooting and turnovers, going scoreless for over six minutes in the first half.

Another turnover in the post by Deniz Kilicli led to a breakout by Bell for a layup to push the lead out to 15-points which was finally ended by a pair of Gary Browne free-throws followed by a Jabarie Hinds layup to get the Mountaineers within 11-points.

The Mountaineers had already committed twelve turnovers in the first thirteen minutes of play and shot 3-16 from the field, and Gonzaga was able to take advantage of the miscues scoring 13-points off turnovers to push the lead back out to 27-11.

And that would only be pushed out to 34-12 after a Gary Bell three-pointer with 4:50 left in the first half, after the Mountaineers failed to connect on a pair behind the arc on the other end of the floor.

Terry Henderson would end the three-point drought for the Mountaineers after missing the first ten shots from behind the arc to cut into the deficit, but an easy bucket on the other end by Michael Hart had Gonzaga back in front by 21-points.

The lead would grow to as many as 27-points on another Bell three-pointer in the final minute of the first half, where it would head into the half. West Virginia shot only 22 percent during the half including 1-13 from three, while Gonzaga shot 53 percent and 60-percent from behind the three-point line.

The Mountaineers were able to whittle the lead down to 21 points at 49 to 28 with under four minutes in the second half as West Virginia opened the second half outscoring Gonzaga 10 to 4. After an Elias Harris free throw, the Mountaineers scored a pair of buckets, to cut the lead under 20, but Harris would hit a three on next Gonzaga possession to put the lead back to 21 points.

And two more buckets put the lead back out to a comfortable 25-points at 57-32, and the Mountaineers wouldn't be able to mount a serious threat for the remainder of the contest as Gonzaga would lead by as many as 33-points.

West Virginia's next game will be against Marist Nov. 22.

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