MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Gary Browne led three West Virginia players in double figures and the Mountaineers were successful from the free-throw line to knock off nonconference Eastern Kentucky 74-67 Sunday.
For coach Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers (7-5), it was the third straight win heading into the Big 12 portion of the schedule.
For Jeff Neubauer’s Colonels (10-3), gunner Glenn Cosey knocked down a game-high 21 points. Mike DiNunno and reserve Orlando Williams chipped in with 10 apiece.
Cosey (8 of 14) threw in 5 of 10 3-point shots. It was the long bombs that brought the visiting Colonels back after they trailed by 16 points 2 minutes after intermission.
From 1:45 of the first half to 17:43 of the second half, the Colonels hit four straight 3-points shots to give them their only points of the span. Cosey hit the last two triples of the first half.
In the first half, the Colonels mustered only 3 of 10 from distance as they shot a poor 27.6 percent (8 of 29) from the field. It was West Virginia’s second-best 3-point defense, in terms of percentage, for the season.
Eastern Kentucky connected on 11 of 26 (44.6 percent) versus 20 of 49 made shots (40.8 percent) for WVU for the game. The Mountaineers missed 10 of 12 3s in the second half.
The West Virginia difference came at the foul line, where, coming in, it was hitting a respectable 70.2 percent from the line.
Against EKU, WVU knocked in 32 of 39 of the foul shots (82.1 percent). The Colonels bagged 6 of 11 (54.5 percent).
Eastern Kentucky chose to put the Mountaineers on the line in the game’s final 10 ½ minutes and the home team returned fire, making 90 percent (18 of 20) of then. Of those 18 points, Browne contributed six from the line. Reserve center Dominique Rutledge contributed five.
Rutledge, who was 5 of 6 from the line, also contributed three blocks. He made a key defensive play with 1:31 remaining – he took a charge near the lane – and West Virginia went ahead 68-64 after Browne’s consecutive foul shots.
On the ensuing possession, Aaric Murray, who was averaging 17.5 points the last two games, chimed in with two foul shots to make the scoreboard read 70-64 with 47.7 remaining. As it turned out, those were the last points the Mountaineers needed to polish off the non-BCS foe.
Browne, who played 30 of 40 minutes after entering the game early, was 10 of 11 from the line. He had six rebounds, two assists, two steals and just one turnover.
Staten was 4 of 6 from the field, made all nine free throws, hoarded four rebounds and handed out six assists in 36 minutes.
Kilicli, a starter who had scored just five points during the last two games, was in double figures for the first time since scoring 21 against Marshall Dec. 5.
Southern Cal 63, Dayton 61, OT: Eric Wise scored a season-high 19 points and Aaron Fuller added 12 points as USC defeated Dayton 63-61 in overtime.
Tulane 53, Alabama 50: Jordan Callahan hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 1:55 to lift Tulane to a 53-50 win over Alabama.
Akron 62, Princeton 58: Zeke Marshall made all seven shot attempts en route to 17 points to help Akron hold off Princeton 62-58.