RaeQuan Battle, WVU earn skid-ending win over UCF


RaeQuan Battle scored 24 points Tuesday night for West Virginia, which never trailed as it snapped a four-game losing streak by beating UCF 77-67 in Morgantown, W.Va.

Jesse Edwards contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Mountaineers (9-17, 4-9 Big 12), who posted their first wire-to-wire win of the season. Quinn Slazinski scored 14 points while Kerr Kriisa had seven points and seven assists.

Darius Johnson scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed four steals for UCF (13-12, 4-9), which took its fourth straight loss. The Knights have led for just 29 seconds during their skid.

Marchelus Avery (14 points) was the only other player to score in double figures for UCF, which shot just 32.9 percent (23-for-70) from the field. Omar Payne had six of the Knights’ 10 blocks — a total that matched their season high set in a 74-71 overtime win against Charlotte on Nov. 20.

After the teams traded baskets to open the game, West Virginia scored seven straight points to begin a 16-4 run that ended with Edwards hitting a layup to put the Mountaineers ahead 18-6. UCF got within seven points twice in the remainder of the half, including when Sellers’ 3-pointer with 36 seconds left cut the gap to 37-30 entering intermission.

Shemarri Allen began the second half with a layup for UCF, but West Virginia scored the next five points and remained comfortably ahead for the next 10-plus minutes.

Kobe Johnson’s layup with 8:55 to go gave the Mountaineers a 58-45 edge. The Knights then scored six straight points to begin an 11-4 run in which Darius Johnson scored seven points, including a 3-pointer that pulled the visitors within 62-56 with 6:11 remaining.

Battle responded with a 3-pointer to begin a 7-0 spurt for West Virginia, which maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way and twice expanded the gap to 15 points.