MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia was headed toward its worst shooting night at the Coliseum in nearly a decade when freshman forward Teddy Allen decided to take things into his own hands.
His four-point play from the corner with 5:02 remaining in the first half briefly snapped the 10th-ranked Mountaineers out of their funk and ignited them to a 77-38 victory over winless Coppin State in front of 8,102 in Morgantown tonight.
Before Allen’s 3-point basket and free throw, the rest of his teammates were shooting right around 20 percent, which is what the Mountaineers shot in a miserable 23-point loss to Cincinnati at the Coliseum back on Jan. 30, 2008.
“It was hard to watch,” admitted West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, now one victory shy of tying Jim Phelan for seventh place in all-time Division I wins with 830. “We couldn’t make a shot, but we couldn’t make a shot yesterday and we couldn’t make a shot the day before so it wasn’t a shock to me.”
But then Allen scored those four, plus 14 more to turn an 18-17 WVU lead into a 22-point halftime advantage. Coppin State (0-12) made just one free throw over the remaining 5:02 of the first half and barely had more field goals (four) than flagrant 1 fouls were called for the game.
The Eagles made just seven more the rest of the night.
At the end of the first half, Allen freshman followed up Miles Jr.’s miss from the corner ahead of the horn, and then ran Forrest Gump style off the floor straight to the locker room.
He added six more in the second half to finish with a career-high 24.
Allen took 19 shots and was hunting for more points with 7:50 remaining and the Mountaineers leading by 36. He tried a 3-point shot from about Mt. Morris, the ball hardly crossing the state line before bouncing out of bounds.
“He’s never met a shot he didn’t like,” Huggins said. “He doesn’t have a conscience, which is kind of what it takes.”
After that miss, Huggins sent senior Daxter Miles Jr. back into the game to give his freshman a little breather.
Miles Jr. became the 52nd player in school history to score 1,000 points with his 3-pointer early in the second half, and Jevon Carter moved past Tracy Shelton into 23rd place in school history with 1,326 career points. He had 14 tonight.
Guard James Bolden came off the bench to score 12 and Miles finished with 11, now giving him 1,004 for his career.
“He’s had a heck of a career, he really has,” Huggins said. “He’s been terrific this year with his attitude and his work ethic. We’ve badgered him and badgered him about being in the gym more and he’s gotten in the gym and now he’s making shots.”
Sophomore forward Lamont West sat out tonight’s game with a sprained foot sustained in practice. Sophomore guard Chase Harler replaced him in the starting lineup.
“If I was (West) and I saw a guy coming off the bench who plays my spot and got 24, I’d heal up real fast,” Huggins said.
The two teams were so bad shooting the basketball tonight that they could have both lined up in the middle of the Star City Bridge and dropped basketballs down toward the Monongahela River and completely missed it.
A total of 124 shots were attempted by both teams and 89 were missed. Coppin State shot 23.4 percent while West Virginia was not much better, hitting 31.2 percent.
The two teams were credited for 107 combined rebounds.
A positive tonight for West Virginia was the press, which forced 28 turnovers and generated 13 steals.
“It was better,” Huggins said. “We did a much better job of when they did get loose we got them back under control. That was the biggest thing.”
The Mountaineers have one more game at the Coliseum on Saturday against Fordham at noon before opening Big 12 play at Oklahoma State on Friday, Dec. 29.
That game will tip at 7 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
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