West Virginia 74, Delaware State 50
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)—Frank Young scored 17 points and Alex Ruoff added 14 as West Virginia beat Delaware State 74-50 in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night.
Ruoff also had nine assists. Jamie Smalligan added 13 points and Da’Sean Butler scored nine points for the Mountaineers (23-9), who host Massachusetts on Thursday in the second round.
West Virginia, the top seed in the East Region, had a 16-0 run at the end of the first half and led 39-13 at the break.
Jahsha Bluntt led eighth-seeded Delaware State (21-13) with 19 points. Aaron Fleetwood added 14 points.
Delaware State shot only 36.7 percent from the floor and failed to reach the free throw line for the first time this season. West Virginia shot 55.6 percent from the floor and hit seven 3-pointers, including five in the first half.
The Hornets played close to even with West Virginia for the game’s first 13 minutes and trailed 17-11. But West Virginia began to use a mixture of man-to-man and its trademark 1-3-1 defense to confuse Delaware State and the Hornets managed only one field goal over the final 7:06 of the first half.
West Virginia coach John Beilein became the fifth WVU coach to reach 100 wins at the school. Beilein’s first victory as West Virginia’s coach also came at the expense of Delaware State, which the Mountaineers beat 59-46 in 2002.
West Virginia earned a No. 1 seed in the NIT after reaching the NCAA tournament regional semifinals in the two previous seasons.
Delaware State earned a guaranteed spot in the NIT after winning its third straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship. The Hornets lost to Florida A&M at the buzzer in the conference championship game.