MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Joe Alexander scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead West Virginia to a 70-53 win over Winthrop on Saturday.
Eight of Alexander's points came during a key run that put the Mountaineers ahead 63-47 with three minutes left. Winthrop had cut West Virginia's lead to 50-41 with 10 minutes remaining.
Poor outside shooting in the first half by West Virginia (5-1) and good free-throw shooting by Winthrop kept the game close in the first half. West Virginia missed 14 of its first 18 3-point attempts. Winthrop (4-3) was equally cold, making just four first-half field goals, but went 15 of 19 at the foul line in the opening period.
West Virginia led 32-24 at halftime.
WVU began to drive the ball inside in the second half and methodically pulled away. Da'Sean Butler made a layup and scored on a putback around Alexander's driving score during a back-and-forth series that saw Winthrop match eight straight West Virginia baskets.
Winthrop (4-3) got within 52-44 on Michael Jenkins? driving lay-up with 7:30 remaining, but came no closer the rest of the way. The Eagles shot 29.8 percent from the floor.
Darris Nichols scored 12 for West Virginia, which played its first close home game after beating its first three foes by an average of 53 points.