MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins knew his team was capable of putting together a solid shooting performance.
It took six games for that to happen.
Miles McBride scored 20 points and the 11th-ranked Mountaineers rode a hot-shooting first half to an 87-71 victory over No. 19 Richmond on Sunday.
West Virginia (5-1) made 10 straight shots during an 18-1 run at the end of the first half for a 52-30 halftime lead. The team shot 66% (23 of 35) from the floor in the half, making 6 of 9 3-point attempts.
It didn’t come as a shock to Huggins.
“They’ve shot like that in practice pretty much all along,” Huggins said. “I don’t think it was a matter of them looking like they were hot. They were just normal.”
In their previous game, the Mountaineers fell behind by eight points at halftime before rallying to beat North Texas. But West Virginia was determined from the start against Richmond (4-1).
McBride made 9 of 11 field-goal attempts. He pointed to his intensity in the first half, when he scored 16, as a catalyst to his team’s breakout performance.
“In the North Texas game we didn’t have any intensity,” McBride said. “I think our intensity in the first half is something that we need every game for all 40 minutes. I think if I can start that off and others can feed off it, I think we’re going to be hard to beat.”
Taz Sherman added 15 points and Sean McNeil and Oscar Tshiebwe each scored 12 points for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia shot 58% from the floor, its first time surpassing 50% in 17 games. It was the Mountaineers’ best performance since shooting 58% against TCU last January.
“They haven’t shot that well too often here in the last couple of seasons,” Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. “Maybe they were too comfortable because we were so concerned about the interior players and making sure we were in passing lanes on the passes that went into the post.
“If they shoot that well, they’ll be really difficult to beat.”
Richmond saw an eight-game winning streak dating back to last season end. It was the Spiders’ longest run since a nine-game streak during the 2010-11 season.
Tyler Burton had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Nathan Cayo also scored 14 points and Blake Francis had 12 points for Richmond.
The Mountaineers kept up the pace early in the second half with Derek Culver’s dunk capping a 9-3 burst for their largest lead, 63-33.
Burton scored 10 points and Francis had seven over a 10-minute stretch of the second half as Richmond trimmed the deficit to 76-60 with 5:22 left. But the Spiders got no closer.
The last time Richmond made a trip to Morgantown, Huggins was a player for the Mountaineers in 1976.
Richmond: The Spiders came in with five players averaging in double figures. Leading scorer Grant Golden attempted just four shots and was held to nine points, six under his average. Jacob Gilyard finished with seven points, five under his average.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers entered the game shooting 40% from the field, including 32% from 3-point range. Against Richmond they went 36 of 62 from the field, including 8 of 14 (57%) from beyond the arc.
Richmond plays at Vanderbilt on Wednesday night.
West Virginia hosts Iowa State in its Big 12 opener on Friday night.
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