West Virginia puts tumultuous offseason behind, beats Missouri State 67-59 in opener
Mon, Nov 6, 2023
NCAAB News (AP)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Quinn Slazinski scored 18 points, Jesse Edwards had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and West Virginia overcame a terrible start to beat Missouri State 67-59 in their season opener Monday night.
Seth Wilson scored all 11 of his points in the second half for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers led 57-46 before Missouri State went on an 8-0 run. Chance Moore scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half, including a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left to pull the Bears within 61-59. But Missouri State didn't score again.
Alston Mason added 15 points for Missouri State.
West Virginia jumped ahead 15-4 to open the game, then went the final 14 minutes of the half without a field goal, missing 21 straight shots to trail 30-24 at halftime.
West Virginia finally moved on from a tumultuous offseason in which coach Bob Huggins received a three-game suspension for using a homophobic slur on a Cincinnati radio station in May. Huggins resigned a month later following a June drunken driving arrest. Josh Eilert was named interim coach and the roster underwent a shakeup with only four players returning from last season's roster.
The NCAA denied waivers for two players to play immediately, and Eilert kicked Jose Perez off the team in an academic disagreement. Forward Akok Akok continues to recuperate after collapsing during an Oct. 27 exhibition game. Guard Kerr Kriisa was suspended for nine games on Oct. 31 for accepting impermissible benefits when he was at Arizona.
West Virginia had just eight scholarship players available for Monday's game.
West Virginia hosts Monmouth on Friday. Missouri State hosts Oral Roberts next Monday.
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