MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Taz Sherman, like many of West Virginia’s great guards throughout Bob Huggins’ tenure, has gotten better each year he has been at WVU.
As a junior college transfer, he averaged just 5.3 points per game in his first season on Huggins’ roster. Playing along side an NBA guard in Miles McBride last year, he upped his scoring average to 13.5.
This year, as the undeniable leader of the Mountaineers, Sherman improved on that mark again. He finished the regular season as the second-leading scorer in a loaded Big 12 Conference, averaging 18.3 points per game.
While his WVU career is not over, Sherman did play his final regular season home game inside the WVU Coliseum on Saturday.
“I was kind of telling myself, I don’t know if this senior night is going to hit me the same as like a [Logan Routt] or a Chase Harler and stuff, because you know, they’ve been here they’re whole collegiate career,” said Sherman after the game. “But then, again, like what Sean [McNeil] said, when you’re at the end of the game and you’re singing Country Roads, and you finally get a win after a long stretch without winning in front of fans that are still there, in front of your family members and everyone that came down here to see you, it’s amazing.”
You can likely count on one hand the number of times that Sherman’s immediate family, including his mom La Trice, has seen him play in person since making the jump to WVU. But they were in the Coliseum Saturday. And La Trice was on the edge of her seat for most of the game.
“Just to be able to have my mom, and my little brother in the Coliseum — they only have been here, second time now. They were here last Senior Night, and now this one,” said Sherman. “Just to be able to play and have a good showing in front of them is always important to me.”
Sherman scored a game-high 25 points against TCU. Thirteen came in the first half as he and the Mountaineers got off to a great start.
“At halftime he just said ‘We’re going to go win,'” head coach Bob Huggins said. “‘We’re not going to let this happen to us again, we’re going to go win.'”
While it looked like WVU was going to let another halftime lead slip away, Sherman provided the necessary leadership and scoring down the stretch.
Six of his 12 second-half points came in the final 6:07 of the game as the Mountaineers erased a six-point deficit to build the lead back up on the way to a 70-64 win in the regular season finale.
“You never know when it’s the first time someone’s watching you play,” said Sherman. “And you never know if it’s going to be the last time watching you play either. So just put on a show when you can.”
He added, “I’m glad my team pulled off the win. We’re resilient.”
That resiliency was celebrated by players and fans alike.
For the first time since February 8, and for just the third time since conference play began, the Mountaineers got to sing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” after a victory. The players, spearheaded by the always-energetic Pauly Paulicap, rushed into the student section to celebrate afterwards.
Sherman was right in the middle of it, as well, soaking it all in.
“Happiness. I feel like when we win, everyone is happy,” said Sherman when asked about the moment. “Happiness and sharing the same love for the game. They’ve been there, like the student section has been there every home game. And just being able to appreciate them — them showing up and supporting, having a hand in the game —, we had to show support to them. We have to show love to them.”