MORGANTOWN - Freshman Jabarie Hinds led four teammates in double figures with 19 points as West Virginia cruised to a 77-56 win over Akron Monday night in non-conference action at the Coliseum.
Kevin Jones recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Mountaineers (4-1) used a 20-2 run during the last 4:32 of the first half to blow the contest open and take a comfortable 43-20 lead at intermission.
Hinds scored 12 of his 15 first-half points during West Virginia's run before the break.
The Inter-Mountain Photo by Andrew Davis
West Virginia’s Gary Browne looks to make a pass Monday night in the Mountaineers’ 77-56 win over Akron at the WVU?Coliseum. WVU improved to 4-1 on the season with the win.
"When I was on a roll, I wanted to keep attacking the basket," Hinds said. "I just wanted contribute and help us win the game. But I was definitely feeling late in the first half."
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was also impressed by the freshman's play.
"Jabarie is a talented guy," Huggins said. "He's never really been a point guard through his high school career, but he showed tonight he's getting better at the position."
Hinds finished the game 8 of 12 from the floor and also collected four rebounds, four assists and five steals.
Deniz Kilicli and Truck Bryant added 11 points each for the Mountaineers, whose biggest lead came with 3:65 remaining when Kevin Noreen's jumper made it 74-46.
Akron (3-3) entered the contest averaging better than 50 percent shooting from the field. West Virginia limited the Zips to just 35.7 percent (20 of 56) for the game.
"We really played a great defensive game," Huggins said. "Especially in the first half when we held them to 26 percent shooting from the floor."
Nick Harney scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Akron's attack. Zeke Marshall followed with 10 points and Chauncey Gilliam tossed in eight.
Marshall, a 7-foot NBA prospect, fouled out midway through the second half.
"Coach Huggins wanted me and Deniz to slow down Marshall and not let him beat us in the paint," Jones said. "I though we achieved that and did a good job of keeping him off the boards."
It was Jones fourth consecutive double-double performance.
The Mountaineers will being a tough stretch of games beginning with back-to-back road contests. WVU?will visit No. 21 Mississippi State on Saturday before traveling to Wichita, Kansas to face Kansas State on Dec. 8.
The Mountaineers will return home on Dec. 10 to face Miami.
"We have to keep getting better, because we have a tough stretch of games ahead of us," Hinds said. "We just need to keep picking up things that coach Huggins is teaching us."