December 1, 2019 / 9:42 PM / 5 days ago

Haley helps West Virginia hold off Rhode Island

Derek Culver set a career high with 25 points and added 11 rebounds and Jermaine Haley had 18 points and made a decisive layup with 12 seconds remaining when the host West Virginia Mountaineers lost a 14-point lead but held off the Rhode Island Rams 86-81 on Sunday afternoon.

Dec 1, 2019; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins talks to a fan prior to their game against the Rhode Island Rams at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Emmitt Matthews Jr. had 14 points and a pair of 3-pointers and freshman Oscar Tshiebwe scored all of his 11 points the second half for the Mountaineers (7-0), who have won their first seven games for the third time in six seasons.

Fatts Russell had a season-high 32 points and three 3-pointers, Cyril Langevine had 14 points and nine rebounds and Tyrese Martin had 10 points and five rebounds for the Rams, who had won four of five prior to Sunday.

Rhode Island trailed by 14 with 3:45 remaining in the first half before Russell took over, scoring 18 of the Rams’ next 23 points including all three of his 3-pointers to close the gap. Jeff Dowtin tied the game at 60 on a layup with 9:26 remaining.

Tshiebwe scored his first two baskets on the Mountaineers’ next two possessions, and the Rams never went ahead despite getting within one at 82-81 when Langevine made a layup with 35.9 seconds remaining. After Haley gave the Mountaineers an 84-81 lead, Jordan McCabe hit two free throws with 3 seconds left after a Rams turnover for the final margin.

A 5-foot-10 guard, Russell made 14-of-25 field goal attempts and added five assists in his sixth straight 20-point games. His career high is 41 points, set late last season, his only higher-scoring game.

Culver, who did not start for the second time this season, took up the early slack for 6-foot-9 Tshiebwe, who did not score in the first half after picking up two early fouls. Tshiebwe had nine rebounds and two blocked shots, one with 1:10 remaining and the Mountaineers holding a three-point lead.

Rhode Island shot 48.5 percent, a season high against West Virginia. The Mountaineers made 24-of-31 free throws while Rhode Island was 10-of-15.

Haley scored West Virginia’s first eight points of the game, and the teams played evenly until Culver made two baskets and four free throws and McNeil and Matthews hit threes during a 20-5 run for a 38-24 lead, their largest.

—Field Level Media

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