MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Once West Virginia turned on the heat, there was too much offense for Long Beach State.
Lamont West paved the way with 22 points, one shy of a career high, and the 23rd-ranked Mountaineers beat the 49ers 91-62 on Monday night.
For the second time in a week, West Virginia (3-1) started out sluggish, trailing LBSU 9-6 at the first media timeout.
WVU responded with an 18-5 run over the next 6:32 and finished the first half with a 10-1 run to create some cushion.
The 49ers (2-2) took advantage of a Mountaineer scoring drought in the second half but couldn’t come to within 15 points of the lead.
“I thought we played hard,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “In all fairness to them, I think they were a little tired.”
Sagaba Konate had a career-high 20 points and Chase Harler added 14 points, also a career high. Wesley Harris led the Mountaineers with nine rebounds.
“He works on his game,” West said of Konate. “I (saw) Sags throughout the whole summer working on his jump shot. Even last year, when he didn’t shoot it, he was practicing it. He always had the confidence to shoot it. It was just the coaches letting him shoot it.”
Gabe Levin matched a career-high 23 points and added 11 rebounds. Bryan Alberts added a career-high 20 points.
“I’d say for the most part, I thought we did a lot of good things,” Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said. “But against a team of that magnitude, you’ve got to have 40 minutes of solid basketball and I just thought the last two minutes of the half just doomed us.”
Long Beach State will look to rebound from two straight road losses to Power Five teams when they head to the grounds of Walt Disney World to play in the Advocare Invitational which could include rematches against Oregon State and West Virginia.
West Virginia’s shooting percentage, 47 percent, is among the lowest in the Big 12. It will need improving if the Mountaineers want to compete in nonconference games against Virginia and Kentucky as well as the Big 12 Conference.
WVU’s full-court press was not as effective as usual, as the Mountaineers got only 20 points off 21 turnovers. The Mountaineers are still among the top five teams in the country in turnover margin.
THAT’S BEACH, NOT BENCH
Long Beach State only scored two points off the bench compared to 27 from West Virginia. The 49ers usually have only eight players with double-digit minutes, averaging around 23 points per game.
With the upcoming Advocare Invitational for West Virginia, the win over Long Beach State will likely do little to improve the Mountaineers’ ranking more than one or two spots with No. 23 UCLA’s loss to Creighton in Kansas City on Monday night.
Both Long Beach State and West Virginia will head to Lake Buena Vista, Florida, to participate in the Advocare Invitational on Thursday. The 49ers will start out against Missouri and the Mountaineers will play Marist.