Marshall Vs. West Virginia: 'Eers Stifle Herd With Tough Defense, 78-62

The Mountaineers and Thundering Herd meet in Charleston for the Capital Classic.

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Marshall Vs. West Virginia: Tough Defense Stops Herd, 'Eers Coast To 78-62 Win

After a brutal first half that saw both teams struggle to score and find any sort of rhythm, the West Virginia Mountaineers turned up the defense in the second half and ended up coasting to a 78-62 win. The Mountaineers shut down the Herd in the second half, outscoring them 48-32 in the game's final 20 minutes.

Midway through the second half, when the game still hung in the balance, momentum swung the Mountaineers way for good after a frustrated DeAndre Kane bricked a deep three. On his way back up the court Kane picked up a personal foul and a technical foul, which resulted in the Mountaineers extending their lead to 14. From that point on, West Virginia ran clock and a frustrated Marshall squad traded buckets with the 'Eers and never closed the gap

Kevin Jones, as usual, was a total beast, dropping 25 points and grabbing six boards. Kevin Noreen and Dominique Rutledge both played well in Deniz Kilicli's absence, but it was really the freshman guards that stole the show. With a depleted frontline, Bob Huggins had to go small for most of the second half, playing both Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne alongside Truck Bryant. While Bryant poured in 22 points, the freshman duo of Browne and Hinds dazzled, burying deep shots and taking swift dashes into the lean, almost always resulting in Mountaineers points.

The Mountaineers next take the court this Saturday at home against Cincinnati.

For more on the West Virginia Mountaineers, stay tuned to SBNation Pittsburgh and The Smoking Musket.

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Marshall Vs. West Virginia: Herd, 'Eers Tied At 30 At The Half

As usual, the Capital Classic has been a tough affair to watch, defined more by halting offense and a proliferation of turnovers than by good competition. The been completely even after twenty minutes, as Truck Bryant hit a three to tie the game at the halftime buzzer.

Kevin Noreen, getting his first career start in place of Deniz Kilicli, has acquitted himself well, picking up a couple buckets and generally playing good defense. The Herd struggled for much of the half, but rolled off a ten point run behind tough defense and missed Mountaineer shots, leading to easy transition buckets. The Mountaineers answered to tie the game with a seven point run of their own. At the half, DeAndre Kane leads all scorers with a dozen points.

WVU coach Bob Huggins has tried to hide the Mountaineers lack of size by shifitng to a 1-3-1 zone late in the half. While it initially proved successful, the Herd have adjusted and seem to handle it with aplomb. Dominique Rutledge fared well off the bench, picking up a handful of rebound, and hitting one of his free throws. Freshman Aaron Brown hit a couple of big shots late in the half to keep the deficit manageable when it looked like it could get ugly.

At the half, the Mountaineers trail the Thundering Herd and Mountaineers are tied at 30.

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