Jermaine Haley had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Derek Culver had all 13 of his points in the second half as West Virginia blew a 14-point lead in the second half but held on to beat visiting Northern Colorado 69-61 on Monday night in Morgantown, W.V.
It was the 11th double-figure scoring output in the last 13 games for Haley, a senior guard who was 7-for-10 from the field as the Mountaineers (3-0) shot 48.1 percent.
West Virginia led by as many as 17 and held a 10-point edge at halftime, but sloppy play to start the second half kept it from putting Northern Colorado (2-3) away. That enabled the Bears, who shot only 37.7 percent and missed 22 shots from three-point range, to overcome a 4:46 field-goal drought with a 16-2 run to tie it at 54 with 6:18 left.
The Mountaineers then scored the game's next 10 points to lead 64-54 with 3:28 left, with Haley hitting a pair of layups in that stretch, while the rest of the scoring was by Culver. The sophomore forward, who started the first two games, sat the entire first half for undisclosed reasons and didn't enter until 4:20 into the second half but was clutch in his 11 minutes of action by making 7 of 8 free throws.
Northern Colorado got within 64-59 with 2:13 left on a jumper by sophomore guard Bodie Hume, who led the Bears with 18, but then Culver hit a jumper with 1:45 left and added two free throws with 51 seconds to go to ice the game.
In Culver's place in the starting lineup was junior college transfer guard Taz Sherman, who responded with eight points and two steals in his first start. Sherman had two 3-pointers in the first seven minutes as West Virginia started 4-for-4 from outside to lead 18-8 with 13:18 left.
The Mountaineers used a 10-0 run to go up 30-13, with Northern Colorado going nearly six minutes without scoring and more than seven minutes without a field goal. The Bears made three of their last four shots in the first half to trail only 40-30.
The game was part of the preliminary round of the Cancun Challenge tournament that continues Nov. 26-27 in Mexico. West Virginia hosts Boston University on Friday before facing Northern Iowa and either South Carolina or Wichita State in Cancun, while UNC next faces Boston in Mexico.
--Field Level Media