RADFORD, Va. (AP)—It was “Darris Nichols Day” in Radford on Wednesday. The West Virginia senior guard didn’t have a bad night, either.
Nichols was 7-for-10 from 3-point range and scored 23 points to lead the 24th-ranked Mountaineers to a 90-60 victory over Radford.
Nichols was back in his hometown, and the city named the day in honor of its former high school star at a pregame ceremony.
“I thought it was a little added incentive that I got to play at home,” Nichols said.
Alex Ruoff also had 23 points for the Mountaineers (9-1), who maintained their 30-point scoring margin for the season. Da’Sean Butler added 14 points.
Amir Johnson had 16 points and 11 assists for the Highlanders (4-9), while Kenny Thomas scored 16 points and Joey Lynch-Flohr added 12.
“These guys have played well against tough competition, and they held their own,” first-year Highlanders coach Brad Greenberg said.
The Mountaineers shot 51.4 percent from behind the arc, but coach Bob Huggins said that was because Radford did a good job on defense.
“We really didn’t get the ball inside like we wanted to,” Nichols said. “The guards took it upon themselves to knock down shots.”
Huggins, in his first year at West Virginia, wasn’t satisfied with his team’s performance.
“I didn’t find a whole lot of good things today,” he said. “We haven’t guarded very well the last three games.”
West Virginia committed five turnovers, to 15 for Radford.
The victory was No. 599 for Huggins. Only five other Division I coaches have more wins than Huggins, who got most of his at Cincinnati.
Radford jumped to an early lead, but West Virginia went ahead for good at 24-22 with 4:25 left in the first half on a 3-pointer by Nichols. The Mountaineers led 36-27 at halftime.
The Highlanders never threatened in the second half. West Virginia took a double-digit lead at 39-29 on another 3-pointer by Nichols, and steadily widened the gap. A 3-pointer by Butler with 6:04 left gave the Mountaineers their largest lead of the game at 85-50.