Jan. 21, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University men's basketball dropped a hard fought battle with in-state rival West Virginia, 68-60, in front of 12,380 fans at the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic in the Charleston Civic Center on Wednesday evening.
MU (15-3) freshman Hassan Whiteside scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, while senior Chris Lutz drained four 3-pointers en route to 16 points, all in the second half, but it was not enough as WVU (14-3) won the fourth meeting in a row.
Whiteside and the Mountaineers' Da'Sean Butler each earned Capital Classic MVP honors. Butler scored a team-high 16 points and added six rebounds in the win.
MU held the Mountaineers without a field goal for nearly five minutes to open the game, to own an early 6-2 advantage before Butler made a jumper at the 15:02 mark.
Trailing 11-9, Whiteside scored eight of the next ten points, including two three-point play conversions to deadlock the score at 18-18.
Shaquille Johnson drained a 3-pointer from the corner to put MU up 21-19, before WVU used a 7-0 spurt to have a five-point cushion, 26-21. A pair of Whiteside free throws and another 3-pointer from Johnson sandwiched around a free throw by Darryl Bryant put the Herd within a point, 27-26, with 2:58 remaining in the opening half.
WVU closed out the half on a 6-2 run to take a 33-28 advantage into the locker room.
Lutz erupted in the second half as he hit consecutive 3-pointers and sank a pair of free throws to score eight-straight points putting the Herd within a point, 46-45.
After a Whiteside dunk, Dalton Pepper drained a 3-pointer for the Mountaineers at 5:15 remaining. Lutz continued his hot second half shooting making two buckets from behind the arc with MU still trailing 57-55 with 2:41 left in the contest.
Both teams traded baskets, with the Mountaineers still leading 62-57 with 30 seconds to play. Tyler Wilkerson buried a 3-pointer at the top of the key with 19 seconds left to get the Herd within a basket at 62-60.
WVU made 6-of-8 foul shots in the final 20 seconds to stave off the Herd for the eight-point victory, 68-60.
Wilkerson added nine points and six rebounds, while Johnson chipped in with seven points, five assists and five rebounds.
The Herd returns home to the Henderson Center on Saturday, Jan. 23 to play UAB. The Blazers and the Thundering Herd are tied a top the Conference USA standings. Tickets are still available by calling 1-800-THE-HERD or go online to www.HerdZone.com.
Coach Donnie Jones
"Our team played hard and I'm proud of our guys and give West Virginia credit, they found a way to win it down the stretch," head coach Donnie Jones said. "Sometimes the physicality is tough on our kids down the stretch and we need to get better at that. I thought our kids fought hard all the way and battled the best we could."
"Tonight hurt," senior guard Chris Lutz said. "We had a lot of chances at the end and we just didn't come through. We played our hearts out tonight and we are proud of each other and we are going to use this for the rest of the season."