WVU Found a Way to Win Against Herd

It's not always necessarily the game people look the most forward to on West Virginia's schedule every year. And on paper, it usually isn't looked at as one of the "best" games when the two teams meet in Charleston.

But, as Saturday's edition of the Capital Classic showed once again, it's hardly ever a dull game.

It wasn't pretty at all, but in West Virginia's win Saturday night against Marshall, it was able to do something it hadn't done yet this season.

In a close game, the Mountaineers were able to win.

WVU's six victories had been decided by at least 15 points, with the smallest margin of victory coming in a 77-62 win against Mount St. Mary's in its season opener.

For the first time this year, out of four chances, the Mountaineers were able to find a way to win a game decided by 10 points or less. And they did it despite one of their ugliest performances of the season.

West Virginia was uncharacteristically careless with the basketball for the majority of the game. The Mountaineers committed 16 turnovers in the first 28 minutes of the game – which is more than they had in any game of the season prior to Saturday night.

But those turnover woes quickly turned themselves around once WVU came out of the under-12 timeout, as it was able to finish the game with no more turnovers.

Last season, West Virginia struggled to find leaders to consistently turn to when things began to go downhill. When Marshall was able to come out and grab momentum and take over the game for the majority of Saturday's contest, it was just another moment in which it would have been hard to imagine WVU coming back and having a chance to win late in the game.

It was able to lean on Juwan Staten, who had been bitten by the turnover bug as well early on and had five turnovers, in order to come away with the victory. That's something it wasn't able to do a year ago.

This team was able to come up with a win when it needed one. It's a young group of guys who either haven't had much experience in college or haven't had a lot of experience winning in college.

West Virginia has a good group of guys who have played before, but only two have been to the NCAA tournament. A loss to Marshall – when WVU's non-conference tournament resume was looking shaky at best to begin with – would have been extremely detrimental to this team's psyche.

After suffering so many losses a year ago, how many more tough losses could this group have handled before things began going south?

With a stretch of winnable games on the horizon, this group was happy to get back in the win column against Marshall.

It might not be a big rivalry game, as Bob Huggins said after the game it's tough for it to be with for far the schools are from one another – even if they're the two schools in the state of West Virginia. But this was a big game for the Mountaineers.

And it was a win that, although it wasn't their prettiest win, showed a good bit about this team and its will to keep fighting .

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