WVU pulls out thrilling 69-59 win against rival Marshall
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 04:12
When West Virginia and Marshall battle it out on the hardwood, a low-scoring affair and chippy play has become a common occurrence.
But in the 2012 version of the Capital Classic, five ejections and five technical fouls highlighted one of the roughest to date.
Despite having four players ejected in the final two minutes, Deniz Kilicli led the Mountaineers to a 69-59 win over the Thundering Herd Wednesday night at the Charleston Civic Center.
"It’s for the state. It’s for all the fans," Kilicli said. "The Marshall seniors don’t have a chance again, and they can do whatever they want to do now."
A scuffle broke out between the two teams with 1:37 to play after a layup from West Virginia sophomore guard Juwan Staten.
Staten was tripped by Marshall’s Robert Goff while attempting to retreat to the defensive end of the floor.
"It was a physical game, so it’s going to get like that. I wasn’t surprised at all," Staten said. "I was here at the game last year. So I knew what type of game it was coming in. I think I got tripped when I tried to walk away, but that’s a part of the game."
Kilicli had season-high 21 points to lead all scorers. Most of his points came in the paint after he was able to establish deep position.
"(Marshall) kind of play behind the post, and when Turk has it going, he’s great in the post," Staten said. "We just tried to feed him the ball and let him get going, and that’s what happened."
Even though Kilicli had his best offensive performance of the season, his head coach feels he could have been more productive.
"He missed a lot of shots," Huggins said. "But I thought we got him the ball a lot better. He should do a better job of finishing around the rim. But that was the plan – throwing him the ball."
Late in the first half, West Virginia switched from a man to a 1-3-1 zone defense and was able to force multiple turnovers, eventually leading to layups on the other end.
The Mountaineers were able to grasp their first lead of the game in the 1-3-1 set, and it ultimately proved to be the turning point.
"They turned over it a couple times," Huggins said. "It was just a change of tempo and a different look. People get into a rhythm. You have try to get them out of rhythm."
The Mountaineers have now won six of the last seven matchups with the Herd. The two in-state rivals have now met 41 times, with West Virginia claiming 30 wins.
For Huggins, though, this rivalry isn’t as fierce as most.
"This is not Cincinnati/Xavier. The schools aren’t five minutes apart. It’s not a holy war in the city," Huggins said. "I honestly think that when this game is over with, a lot of our people root for them, and a lot of their people root for us."