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West Virginia goes ahead early, holds off Toledo

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West Virginia held off a second-half surge by Toledo to win 91-81 and snap a two-game losing streak on Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.

The Mountaineers led by 12 at halftime, but the Rockets’ 6-2 run early in the second half helped them get within single digits for the first time since the five-and-a-half-minute mark of the game.

The Rockets were trailing by two, 66-64, with eight minutes to go in regulation. However, West Virginia managed to pull away late to win for the first time in two weeks.

The Mountaineers (5-7) were led by fifth-year guard RaeQuan Battle, a Montana State transfer who followed up a 29-point performance in his season debut on Wednesday with 29 against Toledo. Quinn Zalinski chimed in with 14, while Kerr Kriisa earned a double-double by scoring 12 points with 10 assists. Noah Farrakhan also had 12 points.

West Virginia was much better on the boards than they have been in recent weeks. Akok Akok had a game-high 12 rebounds for the Mountaineers, who outrebounded the Rockets, 35-34.

Toledo (6-6) has lost consecutive games for the first time since its four-game losing skid in November. Their reserves carried the offense, as Toledo scored 41 points off the bench. That includes Ra’Heim Moss, who led the Rockets with 21 points, despite fouling out.

Javan Simmons and Dante Maddox Jr. led all starters with 14 points, while Tyler Cochran finished with 12, before also fouling out.

The Mountaineers came out playing inspired, taking a big lead early in the first half after scoring 13 straight points. West Virginia had an 18-point lead just seven minutes into the game, knocking down 10 of its first 11 shots.

The Rockets tried to climb back into the game, as Maddox led a 12-5 run, cutting the deficit to 10. The teams traded baskets in the half’s closing minutes, with West Virginia leading 45-33 heading into the break.

–Field Level Media

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