Wellington Smith scored 17 of his career-high 19 points in the second half and No. 6 West Virginia used a huge rebounding edge and a big helping of second-half three-pointers to beat No. 15 Mississippi, 76-66, last night.
Devin Ebanks added 14 points and 13 rebounds and Kevin Jones had 12 points for host West Virginia (9-0), which is off to its best start since the 2004-05 team started 10-0 under a much softer schedule.
Facing a ranked opponent for the first time this season, West Virginia shot 60 percent (18-for- 30) from the field after halftime and frustrated one of the nation's top offenses. Mississippi (10-2) was held to its lowest points total of the season and saw its six-game winning streak snapped.
Zach Graham led the Rebels with 14 points, while Eniel Polynice and Murphy Holloway had 13 apiece and Chris Warren added 10.
West Virginia outrebounded Mississippi, 52-33, and the Mountaineers went 7-for-10 on three-pointers in the second half.
Smith, who had five three-pointers entering the game, made four from the right side of the key in the first 4 minutes of the second half. And when Mississippi's defense moved to the perimeter, John Flowers made an easy layup to put the Mountaineers ahead, 48-36, with 14:01 left.
Mississippi, with five players averaging double figures, kept the game from becoming a rout by hitting eight straight inside baskets. Holloway made a three-point play and a layup to bring the Rebels within 49-43 with 11:47 left.
West Virginia's defense altered numerous Mississippi shots inside after that and the Rebels got no closer.
In other games:
* At Oral Roberts, Michael Craion had 18 points and 13 rebounds, Dominique Morrison scored 17 points and the Golden Eagles handed No. 13 New Mexico its first loss of the season, 75-66.
Oral Roberts (7-6), already with wins over Missouri and Stanford this season, took an early 13-point lead but then had to make another charge after the Lobos (12-1) had rallied to take the lead in the second half.
Phillip McDonald and Dairese Gary had 13 points each for New Mexico.
* At Kentucky, John Wall scored 19 points and the No. 3 Wildcats pulled away in the second half for an 86-73 victory over Long Beach State.
DeMarcus Cousins shook off early foul trouble to finish with 15 points and 10 rebounds as Kentucky (13-0) continued its best start in more than 30 years.
* At Xavier, Jordan Crawford made four free throws in the last 23 seconds, and the Musketeers (7-4) held on for a 70-67 victory over Miami (Ohio) in a game marred by a clock controversy.
Dante Jackson stole Miami's inbound pass with 6.7 seconds left, but the officials waved off the play because one of them was checking the clock at the time. Given a second chance, Miami's Kenny Hayes shot an air ball on his three-point attempt at the buzzer.
* At Georgetown, Chris Wright scored a career-high 34 points and Greg Monroe added 16 points and 16 rebounds as the No. 14 Hoyas (9-1) defeated Harvard, 86-70.
* At Tennessee, Tyler Smith and Kenny Hall had 16 points each, and the No. 16 Volunteers (9-2) scored the first 22 points of the game in a 99-78 victory over North Carolina A & T.
* At Siena, Clarence Jackson and Alex Franklin scored 22 points each to lead the Saints (7-4, 2-0 Metro Athletic Atlantic Conference) to an 84-62 victory over Rider (8-6, 1-1), which was led by Mike Ringgold's 16 points and 12 rebounds.
* At St. John's, D.J. Kennedy scored 18 points to lead the Red Storm (10-2) in an 80-44 rout of Bryant.
In women's games:
* At Hartford, Conn., Maya Moore scored 23 points and Tina Charles added 20 to help top-ranked Connecticut (10-0) win its 49th straight game, an 80-68 victory over No. 2 Stanford.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike scored 20 points and Kayla Pedersen added 14 for the Cardinal (9-1).
* At Xavier, Ta'Shia Phillips had her seventh double-double of the season - 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the No. 15 Musketeers (9-2) routed Austin Peay, 87-41. *