SPOKANE, Wash. - In getting blown out by Gonzaga on Monday night, West Virginia University's basketball team picked up where it left off.
The Mountaineers picked up where they left off last season. And they picked up where they left off in their last game.
Gonzaga, which defeated WVU 77-54 in the 2012 NCAA tournament, fared even better at the McCarthey Athletic Center by routing the Mountaineers 84-50 before a sold-out crowd of 6,000 and an ESPN national audience.
Five Zags, led by guard Gary Bell's 15 points, scored in double figures, while West Virginia had but one - Aaric Murray - and finished with an ice-cold 27.3 shooting percentage. In addition, WVU had 20 turnovers. Gonzaga capitalized with 25 points off those turnovers.
"Obviously we have a lot to fix," said WVU coach Bob Huggins. "It's just, how do you fix them all? We worked really hard on transition defense. That's part of what [the Zags] do and we were awful. We just have a lot of stuff to fix.
"We shot the ball terrible. But the truth of the matter is we shot the ball terrible against Glenville too, so . . ."
Indeed, in WVU's last outing, an exhibition game, the Mountaineers shot but 7.1 percent from behind the 3-point arc. In the first half on Monday, WVU hit 7.7 percent from there and finished at 11.5 percent on 3-of-26 shooting.
"As I told them, maybe someone ought to look around and say, 'I can't shoot,' and pass it to somebody else," Huggins said. "We just don't pass it very well."
Gonzaga (2-0) began the game playing man-to-man defense but soon went to a 2-3 zone that WVU couldn't solve.
"Looking back, we definitely needed to get the ball inside more," said Mountaineer guard Juwan Staten. "We passed the ball around the zone instead of attacking it."
Murray, the transfer from La Salle, hit 5 of 8 shots and was WVU's only double-figure scorer with 14 points.
The first half was a disaster for the Mountaineers. Early, it appeared West Virginia was the quicker, more athletic team, but Gonzaga went with a 1-2-2 press that sparked a turnover - and then a romp.
While the host Zags warmed up, West Virginia fouled. And then missed shots. And continued to miss shots.
At the 14:03 mark of the first half, WVU was 1 for 8 from the floor and had five turnovers.
For the hosts, Kevin Pangos hit his second trey, this from the left corner. WVU's Staten was whistled for a charge. Gonzaga's Bell went back to that left corner and made another 3-point shot.
The enthusiastic, vocal Gonzaga student body began to chide the Mountaineers with "You've got two points!"
They did, until the 11:31 mark, when Gary Browne canned a pair of free throws to make the score 17-4.
It only got worse. WVU's Aaron Brown gave the students more ammo with an air ball. There were 15 Mountaineer turnovers in the half. Gonzaga went out to a 27-point lead.
WVU shot 21.7 percent from the floor. Gonzaga, meanwhile, shot 51.7 from the floor and 54.5 from the 3-point line.
In the second half, the only question was whether the hosts would win by 30. They won by 34.
The Mountaineers, 0-1, were outrebounded 38-36 and forced just 12 turnovers.
"We made shots and ran up and down," said Gonzaga coach Mark Few. "We have a heck of a home environment. Our guys were inspired and West Virginia missed a lot of shots. That got us going."
The Mountaineers will now be off until Nov. 22, when they play Marist in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.
West Virginia (0-1)
M FG FT R A P
Deniz Kilicli 26 2-6 1-4 5 1 5
Matt Humphrey 19 2-8 0-1 4 1 5
Aaric Murray 26 5-8 4-4 4 1 14