It was as simple as playing as a team for West Virginia State on Monday evening.
Senior guard Anton Hutchins scored 16 points to lead five players in double figures as the Yellow Jackets dispatched red-hot West Virginia Wesleyan 82-64 for their first Mountain East Conference victory of the season.
A crowd of about 130 attended the matchup at Fleming Hall in Institute, which featured Wesleyan coach and former West Virginia player Patrick Beilein.
Hutchins knocked down 6 of 8 shots and grabbed nine rebounds for State (4-5 overall, 1-5 MEC), which was tied for last place in the conference.
Yellow Jackets senior guard Juan Johnson added 15 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the floor with five boards, junior guard Dimitrios Jelen-Joy chipped in 12 points on 5-of-7 accuracy and senior guard Bo King donated 11 points and sophomore guard Dominic Phillips had 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.
State shot a sizzling 60.7 percent in the second half and 54.2 percent for the game, as it extended a 36-28 halftime lead into a 70-53 romp with 4:55 left.
"Playing together, that's what it was,'' said King. "We needed to play hard and play together. It definitely boosts everyone's confidence and relieves a little pressure.
"We hadn't been playing very well and we knew we needed to come together to get us a win and we did that. I'm real proud of our guys for sticking it out and playing together.''
The Yellow Jackets scored five straight points to build a 41-30 edge early in the second half, but the Bobcats (8-6, 3-3), who had won six of their last seven, closed to three points (45-42) with 12:54 remaining. State used a 17-9 spurt with eight different players scoring to build a 62-51 lead with 6:29 left, then put the game on ice with a 15-3 burst for a 77-56 advantage at the 2:29 mark.
"We needed that,'' said State coach Bryan Poore. "We've still got a long ways to go. One win doesn't fix everything. That's a step in the right direction. We needed a little confidence and a little momentum."
Poore welcomed 11 fresh faces after suffering through a 10-19 record last year and an opening-round exit in the West Virginia Conference tournament. That was the Yellow Jackets' first losing season in 10 years, a stretch in which they captured three tournament championships and a pair of runner-up finishes.