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West Virginia Outlasts Mount St. Mary’s in Season Opener, 76-58



WVU players sang their first Country Roads of the season. (WVSN photo by Kelsie LeRose)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia defeated Mount St. Mary’s 76-58 in the season opener on Monday night. WVU’s defense held Mount St. Mary’s to 33 percent shooting from the field.

Emmitt Matthews Jr. scored back-to-back transition dunks to give West Virginia a 44-29 lead against Mount St. Mary’s mid-way through the second half. WVU’s defense was turning stops into points throughout the night. The Mountaineers scored 15 fast break points.

In Matthews’ return game to WVU, the Washington native finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Texas transfer Tre Mitchell made his debut for WVU off the bench as the 6-foot-8 forward has been dealing with a foot injury the past few weeks. Mitchell scored on all three levels of the floor, knocking down a pair of three’s. Mitchell played 14 minutes and recorded 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

WVU head coach Bob Huggins got his bench involved early. Many of the young players off the bench showed promise. Mohamed Wague and Josiah Harris produced energy that has been lacking. Wague looks like he can contribute full-time in the frontcourt this season. The 6-foot-10 forward finished with nine points and nine rebounds.

James Okonkwo was another young big off the bench that played well on Monday. Okonkwo, along with Wague and Harris, combined to create seven extra possessions from offensive rebounds in the first half.

West Virginia pulled down 45 rebounds against Mount St. Mary’s. The Mountaineers struggled last year as one of the worst rebounding teams in the country. Wague (9), Jimmy Bell (7) and Matthews (7) led the rebounding contribution.

WVU’s offense has been a major question mark heading into the season. Against Mount St. Mary’s, the offense was inconsistent. West Virginia scored in spurts in both halves.

Seth Wilson, a returning sophomore guard, showed potential to score off the bench this season. Wilson scored seven points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field.

Forward Patrick Suemnick did not play in the season opener. Suemnick has been out with a knee injury.

Notable scorers for WVU: Matthews (15), Mitchell (13), Stevenson (10).

West Virginia will travel to Pitt on Friday for the 2022-23 edition of the Backyard Brawl. The Mountaineers and Panthers will tip-off at 7 p.m. inside the Petersen Events Center.

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