West Virginia won its first four games by an average of 23.8 points before sustaining its initial blemish of the campaign.
The Mountaineers (4-1) now look to bounce back from the defeat when they face Portland State (2-3) on Friday night in the consolation side of the bracket of the Phil Knight Legacy in Portland, Ore.
West Virginia was outclassed 80-68 by No. 24 Purdue on Thursday night in its opening game of the tournament. The Mountaineers never once held the lead in the contest.
The difference in West Virginia’s play was due to the caliber of opponent in the eyes of coach Bob Huggins.
“We were 4-0 because we were better,” Huggins said. “We still didn’t execute the way we need to execute. We’ve turned the ball over at a very alarming rate, and we refuse to rebound it.”
The Mountaineers shot 41.3 percent from the field on Thursday, including a shaky 5 of 22 (22.7 percent) from 3-point range.
Erik Stevenson led West Virginia with 17 points but missed part of the second half due to a sprained foot. Huggins downplayed the injury after the game.
Stevenson averages a team-best 14.6 points per game. Joe Toussaint (11.6) and Tre Mitchell (11.0) also average in double digits.
Portland State was routed 102-78 by sixth-ranked Gonzaga on Thursday.
The Vikings were hoping to be semi-competitive after beating Oregon State of the Pac-12 79-66 on Saturday, but they were unable to cope with the Bulldogs’ heavy edge in talent. Portland State trailed by as many as 27 points.
“I thought we really competed and played hard,” Vikings coach Jase Coburn said. “Gonzaga is a really good team, one of the best in the country. We had a bad stretch in the first half where they were scoring and we didn’t. They are really good at exposing your mistakes on defense.”
Jorell Saterfield scored 21 points for his second straight 20-plus-point outing. He shot 5 of 8 from 3-point range and leads Portland State with an 18.2 scoring average.
Cameron Parker added 16 points and eight assists for the Vikings. He ranks second in scoring at 14.4 and is averaging a team-leading six assists per game.
–Field Level Media