MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Bob Huggins said he wanted an emphasis on defense and that is what he got.
His West Virginia Mountaineers slugged Georgia Southern 101-68 Thursday night, and they did it with defense. The final margin represented the most points scored by a West Virginia squad since Huggins' first team back at his alma mater (2007-08) savaged Maryland Eastern Shore 110-44.
Juwan Staten led five Mountaineers in double figures in the first-round game of the Cancun Challenge.
The Mountaineers (3-1) play Presbyterian Saturday at home while Georgia Southern (2-2) travels to Old Dominion before heading to Cancun, Mexico.
Staten (20 points) connected on 7-of-11 field goals, 5-of-6 free throws, doled out 9 assists and hauled down 5 rebounds.
He got plenty of support from true freshman Devin Williams and reserve Terry Henderson — both of whom scored 16 points — Eron Harris (15) and Gary Browne (11), who played for the first time since the 87-82 loss at Virginia Tech on Nov. 12. Browne has been recovering from a bruised thigh.
The five in double figures was a West Virginia first since March 9, 2013 against Iowa State.
Tre Bussey of Georgia Southern led all scorers with 21 points. Teammate Jelani Hewitt also cracked double figures with 15.
West Virginia shot 56.3 percent for the game (40-of-71), while Georgia Southern was good on 25-of-64 shots (39.1 percent).
The Mountaineers rattled off the first 12 straight before the Eagles found the goal and then opened up a 43-13 score with 6:33 remaining in the half.
Supporting those initial dozen points for the Mountaineers were three blocks by true freshman forward Nathan Adrian and a steal from fellow starting forward Kevin Noreen.
Adrian had two blocks in the first three games; Noreen had recorded three steals.
"The coaches put a paper in our lockers that let us know that we were giving up the most points in the Big 12," Staten said. "That's something we all took pretty hard, so we wanted to come out at the beginning of the game and stop them from running anything. We wanted to jump out on them and get a huge lead at the beginning and just show people the type of defense we can play."