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Thomas stirring the pot for Tech

MONTGOMERY — Louisiana native Jauries Thomas doesn't like the food in Montgomery compared to his home state's, but he and his teammates appear to be providing the WVU Tech men's basketball team with a perfect blend of ingredients.

Thomas scored 23 points and pulled nine rebounds as the Golden Bears pounded Ohio Mid-Western 101-63 Saturday at the Neal D. Baisi Center.

Tech (5-1) shot a blistering 62.5 percent in the first half in building a 36-point lead. The Bears outrebounded the Rams 48-32 and them to 34.9 percent shooting.

"We came to play," Tech coach Bob Williams said. "We're starting to get a little deeper because Eddie Gordon is back from injury and we added Hunter Moles today for the first time.

"We asked our guys, 'We're looking for a 40-minute effort, we haven't seen it yet.' We didn't get it today, but we were closer. We got a good 30 minutes I'd say."  

Indeed, Tech hit a bit of a lull after the break, allowing the Rams to creep to within 24 before closing on an 18-6 run.

But all of Thomas' 23 minutes were solid, as he and fellow forward Floyd Campbell made it tough for anyone to operate in the lane.

"We've been really trying to enforce putting teams away early," Thomas said. "I feel like we did it even with a flat second half. I think we put them away in the first half."

Brandon Burgraff added 17 points for the Golden Bears, including three 3-pointers. Gordon and Leon Cooper Jr. each contributed 11 points as 12 different Tech players scored.

Thomas redshirted as a sophomore last season after transferring from Delgado (La.) Community College. He, Cooper and a few others are making a big impact.

As long as Thomas can get used to the cuisine, that is, which he said is "100 percent" better in Louisiana.

"We go hard in practice every day and try to transfer it over to the games," Thomas said. "We try to make sure we execute well. Sometimes we may have some slip-ups but we try to stay together as a team."

The new and returning players got back to the Williams style of defense after getting away from the press for a few games. Williams said that decision was done out of the fear of fouls under the new rule changes, but he has since reversed that choice.

"We stopped pressuring for a couple of games and then I was like, 'I don't care if the referees are going to call fouls, we're going to play like we always play,'"Williams said. "Let them worry about the fouls. We're deep enough that we can handle it."

Michael Thompson led the Rams (4-2) with 14 points followed by Romel Hicks with 13 and Kadeem Palmer with 12.

Tech will host WVU-Parkersburg at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pritt@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.


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