West Virginia avoids another upset, rolls past Jacksonville State

Kobe Johnson scored 19 points and dished out five assists Tuesday to help West Virginia rebound from a disappointing defeat to earn a 70-57 victory over visiting Jacksonville State at Morgantown, W.Va.

Quinn Slazinski added 19 points to go along with seven rebounds, Jesse Edwards scored 14 points and Josiah Harris chipped in 12.

The Mountaineers (2-1), fresh off an upset loss at home to Monmouth, left little doubt to the eventual outcome, shooting 51.1 percent (23 of 45) from the field to go along with 42.1 percent (8 of 19) from 3-point range.

They outscored the Gamecocks 26-12 on points in the paint and outrebounded them 38-34.

The Gamecocks (1-2) were led in scoring by KyKy Tandy with 18 points, while Quincy Clark had 13 points and Marcellus Brigham Jr. added nine points and eight rebounds.

After a 3-pointer by Jacksonville State’s Ivan Reynolds cut the Mountaineers’ lead to 26-24 with 5:05 remaining in the first half, West Virginia went into halftime on a 14-3 run to lead 40-27. Edwards got free for two dunks during the run.

The Mountaineers padded their lead at the start of the second half, outscoring the Gamecocks 7-2 to force a quick timeout.

West Virginia stretched its lead to 19 on a couple of occasions, before a Tandy 3-pointer cut the lead to 54-43 with 9:43 remaining.

The Mountaineers answered. Johnson sank a pair of free throws, Slazinski made a 3-pointer, and then Johnson scored a short bucket off the backboard to give West Virginia a 61-43 lead with 6:32 left.

The Gamecocks responded with a 10-0 run, keyed by three baskets from Tandy. But Slazinski sank two free throws and Harris nailed a corner three to end the threat.

The visitors built their lead to 4 on four different occasions early on. Brigham Jr. paced the Gamecocks with seven first-half points.

Johnson had nine points through the first 10 minutes to help the Mountaineers keep pace and had 11 first-half points.