“We are fighting to get into the Big East tournament,” Gonzales said. “We have had some great moments.”
Jeremy Hazell scored a game-high 30 points for Seton Hall. He had 20 by halftime when WVU held a 45-30 lead.
Joe Alexander showed 13 points for West Virginia at intermission. The 6-8 junior center, who admittedly likes to be called “The Hammer,” finished the afternoon without adding to that total. But he also had game-highs of nine rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots.
Da’Sean Butler and Alex Ruoff led the scoring with 15 points each, and point guard Darris Nichols chipped in 11 points and five assists.
Nichols broke the school record with his 129th game of his career.
“I feel older,” the senior said. “But it feels great to have played in every game since I’ve been here. I’m lucky I have been here through the golden era of West Virginia basketball.”
“This is going faster for me. I kind of have mixed emotions that this is my last go-round.”
Huggins praised Nichols. “You have to be a pretty good player,” he said. “You got to be a little bit lucky. You can’t do much sometimes when you get injured. Darris’ mindset and preparation doesn’t change.
“He comes in everyday the same. He may not shoot it as well as others, but his effort and approach are consistent. I’m glad we were able to get him out for a little bit this game.”
West Virginia jumped out to 21-9 lead and never looked back. But SHU cut the deficit to 10 at 29-19 before the Mountaineers made it 45-30 at halftime. The score was 69-41 midway of the second half.
The biggest bulge came at 77-47 and 49-49 before Huggins cleaned the bench.
Alexander said, “We’re focusing more, developing better, and improving. Ruoff and I are coming along well because we’re both athletic.”
Center Jamie Smalligan played only 12 minutes against the smaller Pirates. But he said he’s got his confidence back, along with the other players, and is doing what he can to help the team head into March strong.
West Virginia goes on the road Wednesday for a Big East game at Providence.