West Virginia 85, Duquesne 54
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Alex Ruoff scored all 18 of his points on 3-pointers and Frank Young, West Virginia’s only returning scorer, also had 18 as the Mountaineers ran away from undermanned Duquesne behind their strong outside shooting in a 85-54 victory Saturday night.
The Mountaineers are 7-1 despite missing the stars that led them deep into the NCAA tournament the last two seasons, Kevin Pittsnogle and Mike Gansey— mostly because they still possess the reliable 3-point shooting that highlighted those tournament runs.
West Virginia was 17-of-29 from 3-point range, with Ruoff going 6-for-9 and Young 5-for-5 behind the arc. The Mountaineers also took advantage of 24 turnovers by player-thin Duquesne (2-6), which lost its sixth in a row and its second game in four days to a returning NCAA tournament team. The Dukes lost to No. 2 Pittsburgh 73-56 on Wednesday.
The Mountaineers trailed by three points early in the game but scored 10 consecutive points to open a 39-19 lead about five minutes before halftime. West Virginia, which came into the game averaging 10.3 3-pointers per game, led by as many as 23 in the first half.
Duquesne tried to make a brief run early in the second half, getting to within 14 points at 53-39, but Ruoff hit 3-pointers on three of West Virginia’s next four possessions as the Mountaineers pushed the lead to 67-39. Ruoff was 6-of-9 on 3s and 6-of-12 overall.
The Mountaineers, playing their fifth game away from Morgantown but their first true road game, had four players in double figures for the fourth game in a row. Joe Alexander added 15 points and Da’Sean Butler had 10.
Robert Mitchell, a 6-foot-6 freshman and the only Dukes player to score in double figures in every game, had 22 points and Kieron Achara had 15 in his second game of the season. Achara missed Duquesne’s first six games with three stress fractures in a foot, cutting the Dukes’ roster to eight scholarship players following the shooting of five players in September.
West Virginia’s 31-point margin was a rare rout in a non-conference series between neighboring schools who had split their last eight games, though the Mountaineers have won the last four.
The Mountaineers’ only loss came to Arizona 71-64 in a neutral site tournament in Orlando. They were coming off a 71-60 decision over North Carolina in state capital Charleston in which Ruoff was 5-for-6 on 3s.