On a night that Kevin Jones cemented his place in West Virginia basketball history as the all-time leader in offensive rebounds, he led the Mountaineers to a 97 to 62 victory over Alcorn State Thursday night inside the Coliseum.
Jones scored 29 points, with 20 coming in the first half, the Mount Vernon, N.Y. native also recorded 13 rebounds, with 10 of those coming on the offensive end. The senior forward came into the game needed three offensive boards to break the all-time mark, and accomplished that feat just four minutes into the game.
Jones scored the first seven points of the contest for the Mountaineers and by the 12:07 mark had registered 15 of the 21 West Virginia points.
The Mountaineers (2-1) bounced back from a 70-60 defeat to Kent State on Tuesday, and although at times bogged down, did a better job on the offensive and defensive ends even without Senior guard Truck Bryant who sat out for extended periods of time in the first half after picking up his third foul.
West Virginia forced 19 Alcorn State turnovers, and held the Braves to 35.5 percent shooting, while the Mountaineers controlled the glass with a 55 to 31 advantage.
Still, the Mountaineers managed 16 turnovers, and shot only 20-35 from the free throw stripe.
At halftime, West Virginia had built a 44-28 advantage, and went into the break on the heels of a Jabarie Hinds three-pointer that was designed on a play coming out of a timeout.
Freshman walk-on guard Paul Williamson provided a lift for the Mountaineers during the first half connecting on two three-pointers in the most extensive action of his young career. He finished with 7 points.
The second half was much of the same, as the Mountaineers came out of the locker room on a 16 to 4 run to put the score at 60-32 with 14:20 left.
During that run, the Mountaineers put the clamps down on the defensive end, and were able to get easy looks both in transition and out of the half-court sets.
Where Jones was the unquestioned star in the first half, it was fellow senior Bryant that stepped up in the second, registering 16 of his 18 total points after the break.
The Mountaineers extended the lead to 31 on a pair of Pat Forsythe free throws with just over 10-minutes remaining and never looked back.
As for other scorers, Kevin Noreen added 12 points, while Deniz Kilicli and Hinds chipped in with 10 a piece. Gary Browne finished with 8 points and 11 rebounds.
The Mountaineers travel to Charleston Tuesday for a match-up with Morehead State in the Charleston Civic Center with a 7 p.m. tip-off.