MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - John Flowers led West Virginia's balanced offense with 15 points and the 25th-ranked Mountaineers never trailed in beating DePaul 82-71 on Saturday.
Deniz Kilicli and Joe Mazzulla added 12 points apiece and Casey Mitchell and Truck Bryant both scored 11 for West Virginia (16-8, 7-5 Big East).
Brandon Young led DePaul (6-18, 0-12) with 14 points, while Jimmy Drew added 13 and Krys Faber and Tony Freeland both had 11.
The Mountaineers' offense woke up after averaging 58 points in their six previous games, surpassing that figure midway through the second half.
West Virginia needed a win against the league's worst team to bolster its confidence following consecutive losses to No. 9 Villanova and No. 4 Pittsburgh.
Another loss would have sent West Virginia tumbling to 11th place in the conference. Instead, the Mountaineers improved to sixth, just ahead of No. 12 Syracuse.
Five of the Mountaineers' six remaining regular-season games are against ranked teams, including Monday, at Syracuse.
The last time DePaul and West Virginia met on Jan. 4, the Mountaineers blew a 14-point lead in the second half and held on for a 67-65 road win behind Mitchell's 18 points.
DePaul had no such luck cutting into a double-digit deficit this time.
West Virginia had its highest first-half output of the season but needed some time to extend a 13-point halftime lead. The Mountaineers made just four field goals over the first 10 minutes of the second half, and Michael Bizoukas made a layup to cut DePaul's deficit to 59-48.
Jeremiah Kelly's 3-pointer with 2:48 left brought the Blue Demons within 74-67, but DePaul scored just four points the rest of the game.
West Virginia went 6 of 6 from the free throw line after that and Flowers' dunk with 49 seconds left sealed it.
West Virginia outscored DePaul 20-13 from the line and shot 53 percent (28 of 53) from the field while DePaul shot 51 percent (25 of 49).
West Virginia easily handled DePaul's full-court press and often was able to get quick open looks on the offensive end.
Flowers took an alley-oop pass from Mitchell and laid it in for a 38-28 lead with 5:50 left in the first half.
West Virginia led by as many as 16 points late in the half and 47-34 at halftime.
The Associated Press News Service
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