WVU dominates Herd down low
CHARLESTON - All season, Marshall has made its claim on having athletic, physical players down low that have a knack for the ball and out-hustle their opponents.
In Wednesday night's 69-59 loss to West Virginia at the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic, the Herd was beaten at its own game.
"We didn't finish around the basket in the second half and obviously, getting outrebounded by eight is usually at least a failure," Marshall coach Tom Herrion said.
Marshall's post players went a combined 4-of-13 around the basket and only came up with a lone basket off a second-chance opportunity - normally the Herd's bread and butter - in the loss.
Furthermore, the Herd knew coming in that West Virginia would try to feed the paint with powerful forward Deniz Kilicli underneath, and the Mountaineers were successful in doing it at each turn.
West Virginia's guards consistently worked the offense to get Kilicli looks in the paint and he finished with 21 points and five rebounds with four coming on the offensive glass.
"It was the kind of game we were hoping for," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "Honestly, not being critical, but I think he'd echo that he missed a lot of shots he normally makes, but I thought we got him the ball a lot better. He should do a better job finishing around the rim."
While Kilicli struggled through a 7-of-19 performance from the floor, his hustle and determination proved to be the biggest factor in the game.
Kilicli perhaps made the biggest play of the contest when he scrummed through Marshall's Robert Goff for a putback that pushed the lead to 61-54.
The play set off a scrum underneath that ended with five players ejected - Goff for a flagrant foul and four West Virginia players who left the bench.
Regardless of the play that led to several technicals in the final two minutes on both sides, the damage was done.
West Virginia used its size to power through Marshall and churn out a win in an ugly offensive contest where both teams shot around 37 percent from the floor.
In addition to Kilicli, center Aaric Murray finished with seven points and 10 rebounds for the Mountaineers.