Marquette overcomes double-digit deficit to defeat WVU men’s hoops

Gold and Blue Nation

Hot start, cold finish story of the game as WVU takes first loss of season

WVU head coach Bob Huggins looking angry in game against Oakland (PHOTO: Jamie Green)

West Virginia men’s basketball took its first loss of the season 82-71 to Marquette in the second round of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic on Friday.

The Mountaineers controlled the first half and built a double-digit lead at halftime behind a massive start from guard Taz Sherman. WVU went ice cold in the second, though, as the Golden Eagles heated up to swing in front and take a comeback win.

WVU shot 58.4 percent from the field and 71.4 percent from three-point range in the first 20 minutes to set the early tone. Both teams traded points in the opening minutes, but West Virginia pulled away right in the middle of the half with a 17-2 run.

Sherman’s 14 points were the biggest contribution from any scorer in the first half, but Tyler Kolek’s 10 points were foreshadowing for what would go down after halftime.

Marquette quickly got the game back to one possession with a 13-point run in the early minutes of the second half, led by a pair of three-pointers from Kolek. He tied for the Golden Eagles’ lead with four three-pointers made, and paced the team with 18 points in the game.

By the 10-minute mark, Marquette took the lead for good as the Mountaineers cooled off from the floor.

In fact, WVU shot just 27.3 from the floor in the second half, while the Golden Eagles sunk 64 percent of their shots.

Sherman’s 21 points were the most in the game, and he added five assists and a rebound. He went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line, but shot 7-of-16 from the field and made one three-pointer.

Kolek added eight assists and six rebounds to his team-high scoring total for Marquette, and he was followed closely by Justin Lewis’s 17 points. Darryl Morsell (11) and Kam Jones (12) were the other double-digit scorers for Marquette, with all of Jones’s points coming from beyond the three-point line.

Sean McNeil and Jalen Bridges added 12 and 11 points respectively to round out WVU’s double-digit scorers.

For the third time in four games, West Virginia lost the rebounding battle — this game, however, wasn’t as egregious as past showings, as they trailed 37-32. They did hold a halftime lead on the glass, but the Golden Eagle rebounding effort made a big impact on the team’s comeback victory.

The loss is West Virginia’s first of the season after it opened the year with three straight victories. Marquette’s win improves the Golden Eagles to a perfect 5-0.

Marquette earns a spot in the event’s finals against No. 22 St. Bonaventure on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, while the Mountaineers end their time at the tournament just before at 5 p.m. ET.

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