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December 29, 2013

WVU finishes non-conference play with 82-45 win

An excellent first half from West Virginia, sparked by an extended 21-5 run, helped the Mountaineers take down William and Mary with ease Sunday afternoon in Charleston. Led by the 19 points from Terry Henderson, the Mountaineers managed knock off the Tribe in the final non-conference matchup of the season 82-45.

With visits to the Charleston Civic Center always proving to be a task for West Virginia's offensive output, the Mountaineers found themselves struggling early to find the bottom of the net. For the first two minutes of the contest, William and Mary handled everything West Virginia was throwing its way, with a little help from the stiff rims of the Civic Center.

It was not until the 18-minute mark that the Mountaineers managed to crack the scoreboard with a long jumper from Terry Henderson. The basket broke West Virginia's early drought, but the Mountaineers still trailed the Tribe 4-2.

Several possessions later, Juwan Staten finally found penetration for the Mountaineers against a difficult William and Mary zone. The junior guard motioned into the corner, receiving a pass from Eron Harris before driving the baseline for a layup off the glass. The basket put West Virginia down 6-4 heading into the first media timeout.

After the quick break, the Mountaineers appeared to find the offensive fire they were lacking in the first four minutes. In a three-minute span, the Mountaineers managed to find the hot hand, sparking a 12-2 run and forcing the Tribe to call a timeout just prior to the under 12:00 media break.

A pair of three pointers from Remi Dibo sparked the run, as the JUCO forward connected on a second-chance corner basket to give the Mountaineers an 11-8 advantage. A mere two possessions later, it was a mirror image for Dibo, knocking down another three from the opposite corner to give the Mountaineer the 16-8 lead.

Staten also provided some fireworks, sandwiched between the two Dibo threes. The junior guard managed to breakaway following a William and Mary miss, driving the length of the court for a monster dunk. The slam sent the crowd into a frenzy as the Mountaineers began to pull away from the rival Tribe.

The strong run would continue for West Virginia following the second media timeout with Harris finding his way into the action. After spending the first eight minutes in the background, the Mountaineer's leading scorer broke into the box with 11:30 remaining in the half, connecting with a driving layup down the lane.

Two possessions later, Harris would again make his presence known on both ends of the court, picking the pocket of a William and Mary guard before driving the court for an easy layup. The basket helped West Virginia push its run up to a 21-5 spurt, giving them a 25-11 advantage at the ensuing media timeout.

The Mountaineers would continue to rely on the hot shooting of Dibo as the half began to wind down. The junior forward continued to be a focal point of the West Virginia offense, with him attempting a shot from beyond the arc on three possessions in a four-minute span, connecting with one. Dibo's successful attempt, however, helped to extend West Virginia's lead to 30-14.

Dibo was not the only Mountaineer to find success from beyond the arc late in the first half. Henderson, who struggled from the field for much of the period, connected with a corner jumper as well, helping West Virginia carry a 35-16 lead into the final media timeout.

The Mountaineers would seem to coast through the final three minutes of the half, with William and Mary managing its first offensive spurt since the game began. A three pointer from Julian Boatner and driving slam from Kyle Gaillard helped the Tribe cut the deficit to under 20 point, with West Virginia taking a 41-24 lead into the locker room.

Once the second half got underway it appeared West Virginia would pick up right where it left off thanks to the hot shooting from Henderson. The sophomore guard carried the team on its first two possessions, connecting with a deep jumper and later a second-chance layup to give the Mountaineers a 45-24 advantage.

With such a formidable advantage, it would be understandable for the crowd in Charleston to fall a little complacent as the second half began. But, like in the first half, it would take a monster dunk to rile the Mountaineer faithful in attendance for the remainder of the contest.

A frontcourt steal by Staten left the junior guard driving the wide-open court for what would have been an easy layup. But, with Harris in tow, the guard tandem decided to excite the crowd once again.

A no-look, behind the back pass from Staten would find Harris in transition around the three-point line, where the sophomore would take it up for a big slam. The basket brought the crowd to its feet as West Virginia extended its lead to 47-24.

The Mountaineers would tack on four more points before taking a 51-27 advantage into the first media timeout.

With the guards, and Dibo, seeming to dominate the offensive discussion against the Tribe, several of the big men would have to fight for their opportunities in Sunday's matchup. With eight minutes down in the second half, Nathan Adrian would finally capitalize on his chance.

A nice dish by Henderson to Adrian gave the freshman an open corner look, which he would connect with ease. The basket further extended West Virginia's lead to 58-30, sending the two teams into the second media timeout.

Exiting the break, Adrian would again find himself in a comfortable position beyond the arc. A baseline pass from Kevin Noreen found the hands of Adrian in the corner for the easy three-point attempt. The ball would find the bottom of the net, helping the Mountaineers break into 31-point advantage midway through the half.

The hot streak would not cease for the Morgantown native, as Adrian proved to be a shooting force for West Virginia in the second half. The freshman would connect with two more trifectas on consecutive possession, one of which coming off a shot clock buzzer beater, to force a William and Mary timeout. With 7:34 remaining in the contest, the Mountaineers extended its already impressive lead to 72-36.

With the final offensive spurt from Adrian, the Mountaineers would coast onto the eight win of the season.

Final: West Virginia 82, William and Mary 45.

The Mountaineers were led in scoring by Terry Henderson, who chipped in 19 points, and Nathan Adrian, who put up 16 points, including 14 in the second half, to help seal the victory.

West Virginia will return to action Saturday January 4 as they travel to Fort Worth, TX to take on the TCU Horned Frogs. Tipoff is set for 4:00pm.

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