MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Derek Culver scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead West Virginia to an 86-81 victory over Rhode Island on Sunday.
Jermaine Haley added 18 points, Emmitt Matthews Jr. scored 14 and Oscar Tshiebwe had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Mountaineers (7-0).
Fatts Russell scored 20 of his season-high 32 points in the second half for the Rams (5-3). Cyril Langevine added 14 points and Tyrese Martin scored 10.
Rhode Island shot 60% (18 of 30) from the floor after halftime and stormed back from an 11-point deficit to tie the game 60-60 on a layup by Jeff Dowtin with 9:26 left. But the Rams never retook the lead.
Tshiebwe hit a jumper and a three-point play a minute apart and later made another free throw for a 73-66 lead with 5:09 remaining.
Rhode Island had the chance to tie the score, but a pass went out of bounds off Russell’s hands with four seconds left and West Virginia survived.
Jordan McCabe hit two free throws with 3.3 seconds left for the final margin.
Rhode Island: Russell, who was named Atlantic 10 co-player of the week last week after averaging 24 points, was leaned on again Sunday. He made 14 of 25 field goals, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers have won their first seven game for the first time in four years.
Rhode Island: Heads home to host Providence on Friday night.
West Virginia: Takes on St. John's in Madison Square Garden on Saturday at noon.
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