MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (Ticker) -- Rhode Island got a taste of downtown from Morgantown.
West Virginia hit 13 3-pointers, including a huge one from Tyrone Sally with 2:25 remaining, and defeated Rhode Island, 79-72, to advance to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The Mountaineers (17-13) went 13-of-23 from the arc, with Sally, Kevin Pittsnogle and Patrick Beilein combining to go 11-of-19. The 3-point shot helped them jump to a 16-3 lead.
West Virginia scored the first eight points of the second half to build a 43-26 bulge. It was 64-43 following a 19-9 spurt that included four 3-pointers, two from Beilein, the coach's son.
Rhode Island (20-14) immediately embarked on a 17-2 run, which included three of its 10 successful 3-pointers. A jumper by Jamaal Wise made it 66-60 with 3:01 to play.
But Sally answered with one of his three 3-pointers for a 69-60 cushion and the Rams never got closer than five the rest of the way.
Sally scored 17 points, Pittsnogle added 16 and Beilein added 15 for the Mountaineers, who shot 49 percent from the field (24-of-49).
Brian Woodward had 20 points for Rhode Island, which held a 39-29 advantage in rebounding but shot just 40 percent (23-of-58).
West Virginia visits Big East Conference rival Rutgers on Monday.