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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins wanted to see some improvement from his team after a sloppy performance against Radford.
He had to wait a while.
Tarik Phillip scored 16 points and the 11th-ranked Mountaineers pulled away from Northern Kentucky for a 92-61 victory on Friday.
West Virginia shot 52 percent from the field, overcoming a slow start on the way to its seventh straight win. Teyvon Myers had 13 points, Esa Ahmad scored 12 and Jevon Carter finished with 11.
The Mountaineers (11-1) got outscored in the second half of an 84-57 win against the Highlanders on Tuesday. Then Northern Kentucky jumped to a 12-4 lead early in the first half against Huggins' team.
"We got to stop hurting ourselves," Huggins said. "We just didn't play very well in the first half and I think they were a lot better than our guys thought they were."
But West Virginia rallied to a 36-29 lead at the break and then opened the second half with a 12-2 run. The Norse (9-4) never recovered.
"We adjusted our press a little bit and they wore down," Phillip said. "We just turned it up to the next notch so we could put the game out of reach."
West Virginia finished the game without junior forward Elijah Macon, who tweaked his right knee in the second half. But Huggins said he didn't think it was serious.
Carson Williams led Northern Kentucky with 12 points. The Norse went 2 for 16 from 3-point range.
"I thought we handled pressure in the first half pretty well," Northern Kentucky coach John Brannen said. "We rebound the basketball. We didn't get annihilated on the glass like a lot of teams do."
Northern Kentucky had a 36-33 advantage on the glass.
Northern Kentucky: Despite the loss, the Norse have won eight of their last 10 games. The Norse begin Horizon League play next week.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers also sputtered a bit in the second half of their 84-57 win against Radford on Tuesday. With the Big 12 schedule looming, West Virginia needs to improve in a couple different areas to compete in the conference.
West Virginia scored 31 points off 25 Northern Kentucky turnovers. The Mountaineers lead the NCAA in turnovers forced as well as turnover margin.
Cole Murray and Mason Faulkner both fouled out for Northern Kentucky. Faulkner was assessed a flagrant foul when Myers went up for a layup and Faulkner tripped him during the shot. The Norse bench also received a technical in the second half.
Northern Kentucky visits Detroit Mercy on Thursday.
West Virginia visits Oklahoma State next Friday.
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