December 21, 2014

West Virginia is close to matching its best start in coach Bob Huggins' tenure and will likely secure that accomplishment if it can duplicate its most recent performance.

The 22nd-ranked Mountaineers host Wofford seeking to improve to 11-1 on Monday night.

West Virginia (10-1) had its best start in Huggins' eight seasons in 2009-10, when it opened 12-1 and eventually reached the Final Four.

The Mountaineers might get there again if they produce similar efforts to the one that produced an 83-69 win over North Carolina State on Saturday in New York. The Mountaineers shot a season-high 53.4 percent after connecting at a combined 37.2 percent in their first three games this month and recorded 10 steals as part of their 23 forced turnovers.

West Virginia also went 7 for 13 from 3-point range after missing 31 of 38 from beyond the arc in its previous two contests. Juwan Staten, however, didn't need to make any 3-pointers for a season-high 24 points in Huggins' 750th career win and the team's third in a row.

"This group here, they let you coach them. I can get on their butt pretty good, and they respond to it. They don't take anything personal," Huggins said. "They show up every day pretty much with great enthusiasm. The people that I enjoy being around are enthusiastic, have fun and enjoy doing what they're doing. This group does."

The Mountaineers are at home for the first time since a 74-73 loss to LSU on Dec. 4, and face a Wofford team that won at NC State during its four-game win streak, one shy of matching a season high. The Terriers (9-2) used a late shot to top the Wolfpack 55-54 on Dec. 14 and followed with a 64-58 win over Charleston Southern on Wednesday.

Wofford held the Buccaneers to 36.4 percent shooting while continuing its best start since joining Division I in 1995-96. Eric Garcia, averaging 9.2 points, had a season-high 15.

The Terriers are giving up 58.0 points on 40.9 percent shooting this season. They allowed 62.2 points on 44.3 percent in 2013-14 en route to their third 20-win campaign in the last five seasons and third NCAA tournament appearance.

They'll face a ranked West Virginia for the second time in as many matchups. The No. 14 Mountaineers won 61-41 in the prior meeting Nov. 13, 2005, and are 3-0 in the series.

Wofford is 0-19 all-time against AP Top 25 teams and fell 57-40 to No. 7 Michigan in the second round of last year's NCAA tournament in the most recent such game. The Terriers have lost their last 13 road games against ranked opponents by an average of 22.3 points and were routed 69-33 at No. 14 Wisconsin on Nov. 19, 2011, in the latest one.

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