CHARLESTON, W.VA. -- When schools in the Mountain East Conference see the University of Charleston on their schedule they better be ready, because the Golden Eagles are proving they will be each time out.
Senior forward Xavier Humphrey scored 20 points to pace five players in double figures as UC dispatched Virginia-Wise 79-67 Saturday afternoon. A crowd of about 300 attended the matchup at Eddie King Gym on UC's South Ruffner campus.
"It was a dogfight,'' said Humphrey, 6-foot-6 transfer from Marshall. "I think everybody came to play. I'm very proud of my team.
"We're here to compete. I don't want to hear people say a new coach and a new system. We bought in and we're ready to go. We're ready to dogfight if anybody wants to play with us. We're going to compete with the top teams, the West Libs and Shepherds, and I think today proved it.''
Humphrey sank 7 of 15 shots, including 4 of 9 from 3-point range with several coming way beyond the arc, for the Golden Eagles (10-4 overall, 7-3 MEC).
Sophomore guard Tino diTrapano, a former player at George Washington High School, added 15 points and four assists for UC while sophomore forward Aleksander Kesic chipped in 14 points and four rebounds, senior guard Denzel Douglas turned in 11 points, 11 boards and seven assists and senior forward Fred Simpson donated 11 points, four caroms and two blocks.
The Golden Eagles only committed one turnover, and that was in the opening half. They also turned a minus-10 rebounding margin into only minus 5 by game's end.
"I tell you what, I like when we weren't playing well offensively we continued to fight, defend and guard,'' said UC first-year coach Dwaine Osborne. "I just like our fight and willingness to defend.
"I thought in a 10-minute period, the 15-minute mark to the 5-minute mark in the second half, I mean we were tough. We guarded well and rebounded well. That was huge for us.''