CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Freshman reserve Jevon Carter is making the tough transition from hard work in practice to solid performance in games for No. 21 West Virginia.
Carter scored 28 points and the Mountaineers forced a school-record 36 turnovers in a 103-72 victory over VMI on Wednesday night.
West Virginia (6-0) is off to its best start since going 11-0 in 2009-10 when it reached the Final Four.
It marked the highest-scoring game for the Mountaineers since a 110-44 win over Maryland Eastern Shore in 2007.
Carter made 12 of 14 field goals, many of them on fast-break opportunities. His previous scoring high was 15 points against Boston College on Nov. 21 and he entered the game making just 32 percent of his field goals.
"Jevon made shots all summer," coach Bob Huggins said. "He made shots in practice. He just didn't make it in a game for a while. That's hard because you're trying to figure out what's a good shot and what's not a good shot."
Carter had 20 first-half points as West Virginia led 53-35 at halftime and extended its lead throughout the second half. West Virginia shot 52 percent (42 of 81) from the floor, including 57 percent after halftime.
West Virginia was playing its fourth game in seven days that included winning the Puerto Rico Tip-Off championship. The Mountaineers were outrebounded 44-36 and especially struggled to grab missed shots near the VMI basket.
"We didn't block out a soul today," Huggins said. "We've got to get better at that. That's going to be huge for us. "If you would ask me one area that is my biggest disappointment, we just don't rebound the ball."
Juwan Staten added 17 points for the Mountaineers. Jonathan Holton scored 13 and Daxter Miles Jr. and Tarik Phillip had 12 apiece.
QJ Peterson had 13 points for the Keydets (2-3). He also had 11 turnovers.
The Mountaineers broke the mark of 34 turnovers forced against Adelphi in 1979.
"The reality is we're not going to create 20 to 25 turnovers when we get into (Big 12) play," Huggins said. "But we're going to create some turnovers, and hopefully we create some turnovers at opportune times."
West Virginia also tied a school record with 26 steals set on two other occasions.
"That's just how we play," Carter said. "We knew with our pressure, we were going to speed them up."
Five West Virginia players had at least three steals apiece. Staten received a standing ovation after diving over the scorer's table to save a loose ball, flicking it back to Carter who then drove for a basket early in the game.
VMI entered the game making 47 percent of its field goals but its offense couldn't find a rhythm.
The Keydets stayed close with 3-pointers until West Virginia took over with a 14-3 run midway through the first half. Carter finished the run with three unanswered baskets to put the Mountaineers ahead 40-27 with 3:53 remaining until halftime, then he made two 3-pointers and a fast-break layup to close the half.
Carter started the second half with baskets off consecutive steals, and his final basketball of the night 5 minutes into the half put the Mountaineers ahead 72-48.
VMI: Peterson returned to the same court where he led West Virginia's Hedgesville High School to the 2012 Class AAA championship.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers are ranked for the first time since they were No. 22 on March 14, 2011. WVU improved to 44-5 against the Keydets and has won all three matchups since 2010 after the series went on hiatus in 1969.
FREE THROW WOES
West Virginia made just 11 of 22 free throws to continue an early-season trend. The Mountaineers entered the game making 66 percent (83 of 125) from the free-throw line.
VMI: Plays at Maryland on Sunday.
West Virginia: Returns to Morgantown to face the College of Charleston on Saturday night.