WVU Rallies To Beat Herd
By JOHN RABY
AP Sports Writer
CHARLESTON – West Virginia’s Juwan Staten wanted the ball down the stretch with his team still looking for its first lead of the game and top scorer Eron Harris having an off night.
Coach Bob Huggins readily obliged.
Staten scored six of his 19 points over the final 4 minutes and West Virginia used a late 12-1 run to beat Marshall 74-64 on Saturday night.
“We got into a bind,” Staten said. “We really weren’t making shots. I told coach I thought I could get it done. I thought I could drive in the paint and make something happen. He told me to get off ball screens and try to make it happen, and that’s what I tried to do.”
After trailing for most of the game, West Virginia (7-4) won its third straight against its intrastate rival and the seventh out of the last eight tries.
The Mountaineers improved to 31-11 all-time in the series.
Marshall (4-6) led 54-48 with nine minutes left but fell flat down the stretch. West Virginia took its first lead, 63-62, on Staten’s 3-point play with 3:41 remaining.
Marshall was held without a field goal over the final 5 minutes.
Terry Henderson added 13 points for West Virginia.
Brandon Watkins and Gary Browne had 12 apiece and Harris scored 11.
Marshall redshirt freshman Kareem Canty scored 16 points and Chris Thomas and TyQuane Goard had 11 apiece.
West Virginia looked flat coming off an 80-76 home loss to No. 20 Gonzaga on Tuesday night. The Mountaineers had a season-high 16 turnovers and Harris, who came into the game averaging 19.3 points per game, was held to his second-lowest output of the season.
But Marshall shot 42 percent (25 of 60) from the floor and continued a season-long slump from the line, making 10 of 24 free throws.
“We contributed mightily to their win,” said Marshall coach Tom Herrion. “We only have ourselves to blame. We beat ourselves tonight.”
West Virginia didn’t trail again after Staten’s go-ahead basket.
After Marshall’s Ryan Taylor was called for an offensive foul on Staten, Remi Dibo scored his only basket of the game off a Staten miss for a 65-62 lead with 3 minutes left.
Staten added a free throw and a layup over the next minute.
“The last 10 minutes, we kept the ball in Juwan Staten’s hands,” Huggins said. “He did a great job. He got other people open and obviously scored himself.
“Staten is terrific. He’s worked so hard. He wants to be a good player so badly.”
West Virginia shot 50 percent from the floor and held a 38-35 rebounding edge.
The Mountaineers entered the game averaging 83 points per game and was held to its third-lowest point total of the season.
Harris left the court wincing in pain less than two minutes into the game after getting tangled up with Canty and Thomas and falling to the floor. He returned two minutes later.
West Virginia went scoreless over the game’s first three minutes, trailed by as many as seven points in the first half and was behind 33-31 at halftime.
“The last couple of games that have been close, we haven’t found a way to come out on top,” Staten said. “But this game really showed that we have a team that’s going to keep fighting.”
Marshall hadn’t played since a 90-77 loss at Penn State a week earlier.
The Thundering Herd were without leading scorer Elijah Pittman, who was suspended indefinitely last Monday for undisclosed reasons. Ryan Taylor, the team’s third-leading scorer, returned after missing two games with a knee injury. He finished with seven points.
“Our kids played hard as heck,” Herrion said. “I feel bad for my team because we deserved to win the game. But we didn’t make enough plays at the foul line.”