Junior forward Wesley Harris scored a career-high 20 points to lead the host West Virginia Mountaineers to a 74-72 win over a feisty Jacksonville State Gamecocks team in a non-conference game Saturday.
JSU had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds. Trailing 74-72, Jason Burnell got off a 3-pointer with eight seconds left but missed.
The Mountaineers (7-4) had lost their previous game — to Rhode Island on Sunday — but now will have eight days off between contests over the holidays.
Harris, who scored 18 points in West Virginia’s previous game, made 8-of-11 shots from the floor, including 4-of-4 from long distance. He also had a game-high eight rebounds.
Reserves Lamont West (18 points) and Brandon Knapper (12) also contributed for WVU. West made 7-of-12 shots, including 4-of-6 3-pointers.
Senior guard Marlon Hunter scored a career-high 26 points for the Gamecocks (7-5), who had their two-game win streak snapped.
Hunter, who averaged 10.2 points last season as the Gamecocks’ sixth man, made 12-of-22 shots from the floor and added seven rebounds.
Christian Cunningham, a senior forward, added 13 points for the Gamecocks. Teammate Jamall Gregory, who ranks in the top 40 nationally this season in steals, had three more in this game.
West Virginia was without junior forward Sagaba Konate, who has an injury to his right knee. It was the third game missed this season by Konate.
Even so, the Mountaineers led 36-33 at halftime. Just two players scored in double figures in those first 20 minutes: Hunter (12 points) and West (10).
Jacksonville State led by as many eight points in the first half. But a 3-pointer by West with 1:42 left in the half gave the Mountaineers a 34-31 lead, and they held on from there until the break.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half, WVU led by as many as nine points. But Jacksonville State surged back on top at 58-57 on a Burnell layup with 8:37 left. The teams battled for the rest of the game before Burnell’s miss doomed the Gamecocks.
—Field Level Media