Back to Big East

West Virginia’s Frank Young (left) looks to pass against Marshall’s Travis Aikens during the second half Wednesday in Charleston. West Virginia won 77-63.

It’s back to Big East play for the West Virginia University men after Wednesday night’s 77-63 basketball victory over Marshall.

In making their record 15-4, the Mountaineers needed a 56-point second half to put a two-game losing skid behind them in the intrasquad rivalry.

Now they will be host to DePaul in a Big East contest at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Coliseum. This is only the second meeting between the two schools.

No one currently associated with the Mountaineer program was even born when DePaul defeated WVU by 76-52 in the first round of the 1945 National Invitation Tournament.

The Blue Demons went on to win the championship of that eight-team event.

While the Mountaineers were regaining state bargaining rights in Charleston, DePaul was dropping a 66-52 decision at Georgetown on Wednesday night.

That made its record 12-9 overall and 3-4 in the Big East.

WVU’s record in conference games is 4-3, with all four victories coming at home. It has lost six in a row on the road, dating back to last season.

“The kids played with confidence,” Coach John Beilein said after the Marshall triumph. “I’m very, very proud of them because we needed that.

“We needed to have that type of adversity and then to come back and win. The kids adjusted very well.”

WVU trailed by as many as 13 points before a late flurry trimmed the deficit to 26-21 at halftime. It was clearly the young team’s worst half of the season.

However, the second half might well have been its best. The 56-point explosion was the highest since last year’s team also had a 56-point half against Marquette in a 104-85 win.

“We learned about attacking pressure,” Beilein noted. “We’ve got to drive the ball. We changed a few things.”

Frank Young, 6-5 senior, tied his career-high with 25 points, including 16 after halftime. Junior guard Darris Nichols had 16 points and four assists.

Joe Alexander, 6-8 sophomore, tallied all 13 of his points in the second half. Jamie Smalligan, 7-0 junior, came off the bench to pull down a career-high nine rebounds to go with seven points.

“He gave us a lift at halftime,” Beilein said. “We out-rebounded them (36-25), which I didn’t expect.”

But the Mountaineers uncharacteristically turned the ball over 17 times compared to only seven by Marshall.

During its comeback, WVU shot a sizzling 66.7 percent (18 of 27) in the second half and 54.2 percent for the game (26 of 48). MU Shot 42.2 percent (27 of 64).

After playing DePaul, the Mountaineers will return to the road for league games at Rutgers and Seton Hall.

Recommended for you