"That was a great game," Marshall coach Greg White summed up. "It seemed that, going down the stretch, both teams struggled. It was a 'grinder'."
"We were in a position to win the game, and didn't win it. You can't ask for better opportunities."
Marshall's Ardo Armpalu and WVU's Joe Herber battle for a rebound.
WVU (10-6 overall) shot out to an early 10-point lead in the first half, 28-18. Marshall climbed back -behind 8-point first half performances from both Ron Blackshear and David Anderson- and WVU took a slim 36-32 lead at the half.
The second half was a classic see-saw battle between the 'Eers and Herd. On five occasions the score was tied, in addition to five lead changes. Ron Blackshear's basket with 5:40 remaining in the game gave Marshall the 53-52 lead. Both teams went high and dry over the next 2:36, until Pittsnogle's three-pointer put WVU back in the lead for good at 55-53.
"He can really shoot the ball," White said of Pittsnogle.
The Mountaineers made 6-of-8 free throws during the final minute of the game to squeak out the 65-61 win in front of 11,981 at the Charleston Civic Center.
"The last five minutes of the game, we have to execute what the coaches say to execute," Marshall forward Marvin Black summed up of the Herd's stumbles during the final three minutes of play. "This is the biggest game in the state of West Virginia."
Marshall placed four players in double figures, led by Blackshear (17), David Anderson (12), Ardo Armpalu (10), and Marvin Black (10). The Herd shot 38.8% from the field (26-of-64), while WVU hit 46.2% (24-of-52).
The Herd now resumes Mid-American Conference play, hosting hte Buffalo Bulls on Saturday, January 25 at the Henderson Center in Huntington. Game time is set for 7:30pm.
Women's Basketball: WVU 67, Marshall 63
Earlier in the evening, the WVU women's squad pulled away from Marshall in the second half, as the WVU women beat Marshall 67-63. Sherell Sowho drained 24 points -15 of them in the second half run- to lead the Mountaineers. Sikeetha Shepard-Hall had 25 points, joined only by Amy Smith (12 points) as the only Marshall players in double figures.
"I tried to step up today and be more of a team player," said Marshall's Sikeetha Shepard-Hall. "Something my team's been needing from me."
Marshall's Amy Reed faced pressure from WVU's Janell Dunlap.
After a 26-26 dead heat first half, WVU went on a 24-9 run in the second half to pull away from Marshall. Nadia Swanigan hit two consecutive drives to the lane to cut the WVU lead to 6, 59-53, with 1:20 remaining. Sikeetha Shepard-Hall drained a three-pointer with :21 left, and Marshall was within only four points, 65-61. Janel Dunlap's two free throws sealed the final score at 67-63.
"We turned it over too many times (20)," said Marshall coach Royce Chadwick. "We had a freshman (Shepard-Hall) get 25 in the game, and that's a great thing for the future."
Marshall's women's squad falls to 5-10 overall with the loss, while WVU improved to 11-4 overall with the win.