Kings of the Mountain State Once Again: Marshall Upends #9 WVU

Jan. 25, 2006

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Marshall University earned bragging rights for the second consecutive season with a spirited 58-52 upset of ninth ranked West Virginia University in the annual Toyota Capital Classic in Charleston, Wednesday.

West Virginia's first Top Ten appearance in 24 years will be short-lived and so was its ownership of the nation's longest winning streak thanks to to the Thundering Herd.

Mark Patton had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the win to pace a Marshall team that took an early first half lead and never trailed.

Center Kevin Pittsnogle had guaranteed a win for West Virginia (14-4), but the Mountaineers were held to a season low for points and fell to their cross-state rival for the second straight year, the first time that's happened since 1981-82.

"After a guarantee like that, it's a good thing we showed up tonight," Patton said. "This is how it is every year in Charleston. It is always back and forth like that. I am just so proud of our team for the way we came out and played tonight."

Pittsnogle didn't apologize for his prediction.

"I'm still glad I said it," he said. "There's nothing wrong with what I said. I think it was just more like confidence."

Marshall (8-9) led for the vast majority of the contest and contained the Mountaineer's Mike Gansey all night long, limiting him to only 10 points. The Conference USA school also dominated its Big East rival on the boards.

"They came out with more intensity," West Virginia's Mike Gansey said.

It was the Thundering Herd's first win over a top ten opponent since beating #8 St. John's in 1971.

It marked the fourth straight meeting between the schools to be decided by six points or less. West Virginia has failed to score more than 55 points in the last three meetings.

Marshall coach Ron Jirsa said his team "didn't do anything special. They just played smart and kept themselves focused."



Pittsnogle led West Virginia with 20 points but got little support. Gansey was held to 10 points - 10 below his average.

West Virginia, outrebounded badly and unable to find its bread-and-butter 3-point shot, never led in the second half and went 7 minutes without a field goal late in the game.

Marshall's Markel Humphrey hit a 3-pointer and Patton outwrestled three West Virginia players for a rebound and hit the putback for the Thundering Herd's largest lead, 47-40, with 4:26 left.

West Virginia scored the next seven points and tied the score on Patrick Beilein's layup with 2:08 remaining.

But Patton put Marshall ahead to stay with a short jumper with 1:32 left. Tre Whitted, who went 0-for-8 from the field in Marshall's last game, then hit a 3-pointer for a 52-47 lead.

Pittsnogle answered with a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left, but Marshall sealed the win by making six straight free throws in the final 25 seconds.

Joe Miles added 13 points for Marshall and Whitted finished with 11.

West Virginia ranks second nationally with 10 3-pointers per game but shot poorly from the outside for the fourth straight year against Marshall at the Charleston Civic Center. West Virginia was 5-of-29 on 3-pointers and shot 35 percent overall.