MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It’s the holiday season in Morgantown, but the Mountaineers (9-2) weren’t in much of a sharing mood as they dominated Buffalo (5-6) 96-78 at the WVU Coliseum.
A forceful Jimmy Bell Jr. and a red-hot Erik Stevenson led the Mountaineer offense to its highest point total of the season. WVU’s 96 points outscored their season average by over 15.
Stevenson bookended the first half with a pair of hot streaks to put West Virginia in front. He played in all 20 minutes in the period and went 6-for-9, taking 16 points into the locker room at the half.
Between those runs, Buffalo had some of its own to keep the game tight. The Bulls made more than half their shots in the first half and had a streak of eight makes out of 10 attempts in the middle of the half that gave them the lead.
Isaac Jack was the Bulls’ best weapon before halftime, adding 13 points off the bench before halftime while grabbing four boards.
The battle of the big men was decided by Bell, however. The 6-10 forward imposed his will in the second half, logging 17 of his 18 points while grabbing 10 total rebounds to complete his first double-double of the season.
Jack, on the other end, was silenced after halftime, going scoreless after halftime and fouling out with 4:30 left in the game.
Foul trouble plagued Buffalo in the second half. Jack was one of four Bulls to pick up at least four fouls and one of two to commit a fifth, along with Jonnivius Smith. In total, Buffalo was whistled for 27 fouls, compared to WVU’s 13.
Stevenson led WVU with 22 points, adding four assists and four rebounds. Tre Mitchell added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Mountaineers, while Seth Wilson chipped in a season-high 10 points.
As a team, the Mountaineers forced 14 turnovers, led by a four-steal night from Kedrian Johnson.
The Mountaineers were without Emmitt Matthews Jr., their leader in minutes, as he battles a left knee injury. He is day-to-day, according to the team.
Isaiah Adams paced Buffalo with 20 points, while Curtis Jones and Jack each added 13.
West Virginia is back on the court Thursday when it hosts Stony Brook at the WVU Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. ET on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.