MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It wasn’t pretty at times, but the Mountaineers got it done.
West Virginia (10-2) closed its final home game of 2022 with a win, topping Stony Brook (4-9) 75-64. Erik Stevenson and Kedrian Johnson combined to score 33 points for WVU in a game that was far from a sure victory for the Mountaineers.
“It was ugly, it wasn’t pretty, but I’m glad we came out in the second half strong,” said WVU guard Joe Toussaint.
Although the Mountaineers were clear favorites, they didn’t hold a double-digit lead over Stony Brook until well into the second half. WVU made just 34.5 percent of its shots before halftime and struggled to rebound, letting Frankie Policelli grab 11 of his game-high 14 rebounds before halftime.
Johnson was the only double-digit scorer before the half, chipping in 12 points, but WVU entered the break with just a four-point lead.
West Virginia’s quality started to show in the second half as the Mountaineers compiled a series of runs. WVU built its largest lead of the game with a 15-2 run, getting ahead by 19. Seth Wilson was a big part of that, hitting a trio of three-pointers in the second half to help the WVU offense.
Stony Brook didn’t quit, however, and whittled its deficit back down in the closing minutes of the half. Tyler Stephenson-Moore, who paced SBU with 16 points, led the Seawolves to get back within single digits with under three minutes left.
It was too little, too late, though, and WVU took the victory by 11.
Johnson led the game with 18 points, eight of which came from the foul line. Stevenson added 16 points for WVU, and Joe Toussaint scored 12.
Jimmy Bell Jr. topped WVU with six rebounds as the Mountaineers struggled on the glass. Policelli was the lone double-digit rebounder in the game as the rebounding battle ended even at 33.
Despite the win, WVU wasn’t particularly happy with the win.
“It was pathetic man, to be honest. Just a bad performance as a team, not individually. I’m not speaking for myself, but as a team it wasn’t good,” Stevenson said. “No disrespect to them, but we should have beaten them by 40.”
On a positive note for West Virginia, the Mountaineers turned the ball over eight times. This was their first single-digit turnover game since their win over Navy on Dec. 7 and their third of the season.
WVU was without fifth-year forward Emmitt Matthews for the second straight game as he recovers from a bone bruise.
WVU’s next game is set for New Year’s Eve when the Mountaineers travel to face Kansas State to open Big 12 play.
“I promise we’ll be better next game,” Toussaint said. “I promise.”