West Virginia men run past Morgan State

West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate (50) grabs a rebound from Morgan State guard LaPri McCray-Pace (1) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game Saturday in Morgantown.

MORGANTOWN — Wheeling Central Catholic graduate Chase Harler was known more for his scoring than his passing during his playing days with the Maroon Knights.

Saturday night, it was the passing skills of the sophomore that kept him on the Coliseum floor as Harler established a new career high in assists with seven in No. 24 West Virginia’s 111-48 win over Morgan State (2-2).

The second-year player came into the Mountaineers’ third game of the season with a career high of two assists, which he had accomplished four times during his time in Morgantown — most recently in WVU’s 88-64 season-opening loss to Texas A&M.

Harler, who also bettered his career high in rebounds with three, wasn’t the only player in Old Gold and Blue to establish a new career mark as senior Daxter Miles Jr. poured in a game-high 32 points to better his old mark of 23.

“I have really worked on my passing since last season,” said Harler during Tuesday’s media conference. “I knew coming into the season that I was going to see more time on the court. And I knew that if I was going to play more, then I needed to become a better passer.”

Jevon Carter chipped in 16 points as four Mountaineers broke double digits — James “Beetle” Bolden added 13 and freshman Teddy Allen finished with 10 as WVU improved to 2-1 on the season with a home contest against Long Beach State slated for 7 p.m. on Monday.

“Chase (Harler) knows what he is doing,” veteran head coach Bob Huggins said. “When he starts making shots, he’s going to be a real weapon. But I know he can make shots because I’ve seen him make shots in practice. It’s just a matter of time. As he gets more comfortable playing, his shot will come.”

Morgan State was paced by Lapri McCray-Pace and Martez Cameron with 10 points each. The Bears were hurt by 27 turnovers and were held to 32.1 percent shooting (18-of-56) by West Virginia’s defense.

Press Virginia returned to the Coliseum Saturday night as the Mountaineers forced 15 first-half turnovers en route to forging a 59-20 halftime advantage.

The Bears took their only lead of the game, 3-2, on a triple by Lapri McCray-Pace. However, that would be the only positive for the MEAC member as West Virginia put together a 57-17 run in the remainder of the opening 20 minutes.

Miles and Carter were the primary weapons for the Old Gold and Blue with 15 and 11 points, respectively. Moundsville’s Harler saw seven minutes of action and tied his career high in assists with two while Cameron native Logan Routt contributed four points and hauled down three rebounds in 15 minutes on the floor.

The Mountaineers blocked seven shots with Sagaba Konate coming away with four, Maciej Bender had two and Routt finished with one.

WVU shot 58.4 percent for the game (45-of-77) and outrebounded the Bears by a 49-29 margin.