BOGACZYK: Herd Rushes, and WVU Rallies to Win
The Word on the Herd-Dec. 14, 2013
Dec. 14, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - For 35 minutes, the Capital Classic men's basketball rivalry was turning green.
Then, Marshall's game-long cohesiveness seemed to wane, the Herd began to rush things ... and West Virginia came from behind for a 74-64 victory at the Charleston Civic Center on Saturday night.
A crowd of 11,038 saw a game that was somewhat tame by recent standards in a series in which the previous six years had seen an average of 48 fouls and 54 free throws per game.
Although those numbers were approached again in the final boxscore, things didn't really get somewhat unruly until the final minutes.
"It's a crying shame for our kids, a crying shame," Herd coach Tom Herrion said. "We played so hard. We beat ourselves. No disrespect to West Virginia. We beat ourselves.
"We lost points at the foul line - again. We played too inexperienced in that stretch there ... We had some bad forced drives, just bad offense. We battled. We really played hard ... proud of our effort.
"I think we contributed mightily to this loss tonight."
Another of the coach's postgame remarks began with "Gosh, dang it," - which pretty much sums up how the night went for the Herd in its seventh loss in the last eight Capital classics.
The game got away from the Herd (4-6) in the final 4:57. Marshall didn't score a field goal after that point, despite having seven possessions. The momentum had changed four minutes earlier, however.
With a 54-48 lead, Herd guards Kareem Canty and Chris Thomas lost the ball on consecutive possessions on rushed drives into the paint through contact. And when freshman Ryan Taylor picked up his fourth personal in that same juncture, WVU was converting at the stripe.
In a 49-second span, the Mountaineers (7-4) hit 5-of-6, and Marshall's lead was down to 54-53.
Marshall played without scoring leader Elijah Pittman and performed with an exuberance for the task. In the first 35 minutes, Marshall's cohesiveness and aggressiveness - the Herd finished with 10 steals and an impressive 19 offensive rebounds - kept Herrion's club in front.
With 11:45 left, the Herd had a 14-5 advantage in second-chance points. By the finish, that edge had been whittled to 16-14, as WVU backup forward Brandon Watkins - voted the game's MVP - finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
After missing two games following a right knee sprain, Taylor came off the Herd bench for seven points, but it was TyQuane Goard - playing in his hometown - who had the biggest inside night for the Herd, with a career-high 11 points to go with seven rebounds in 25 minutes.
The foul line - as Herrion said "again" - was a major issue for the Herd, which hit only 10-of-24 (.417).
"Free throws," Goard replied when asked what cost the Herd. "Rebounding. Kind of moving too fast, not really being poised. We're a young team and never have been put in a situation like that."
West Virginia didn't lead until 3:41 remaining, when point guard Juwan Staten finished a three-point play for a 63-62 advantage. From that point, Marshall made only two foul shots.
After a Staten free throw and a driving hoop by the WVU guard with 2:14 left, the Mountaineers led 68-63.
"I'd say a little under three minutes, it was inexperience," Goard said. "A couple people were moving too fast, but we're learning. We need to take it possession-by-possession."
Canty led the Herd with 16 points and nine assists in 38 minutes. Goard's inside success was aided by post man Cheikh Sane, who had seven points and seven rebounds to go with three steals. He played the second half with a noticeable limp after spraining his left ankle with 7:38 left in the first half.
The Herd returns to the Henderson Center for a Tuesday night game with Alice Lloyd (Ky.), then entertains Arkansas State next Saturday at "The Cam" at 7 p.m.
"We have to finish," said a frustrated Herrion. "We have to put the ball in the basket at the free throw line and around it. We have to play stronger and play through contact. We have to finish.
"We beat ourselves clearly, and we have to live with that the next couple of days."