Herber's Heave Lifts WVU To Win

In his long career as a basketball coach, John Beilein had never won a game on a long last second shot. Until Wednesday night.

"I've lost about five of them, including one on a three-quarter court shot, but I've never won one," Beilein said.

The same was true for Mountaineer guard Joe Herber, who noted that he had never hit a long, desperation shot at any level.

They can't say that anymore, however, as Herber hit a forty-five foot heave with no time left on the clock to lift West Virginia to an improbable 77-74 win over the talented IUPUI Jaguars in Morgantown on Wednesday.

That the visitors were in the game at all at the end was something of a miracle, as the Jaguars trailed by five points with 12 seconds to go. However, powerful forward O'Dell Bradley scored on an inside move and was fouled with eight seconds to go, then missed the free throw, which set off a wild scramble for the ball. WVU's Jerrah Young grabbed the ball as it was going out of bounds, but instead of eating it or throwing it downcourt, hurled it directly to IUPUI's Matt Crenshaw, who flipped it to Bradley for a three pointer to tie the game.

That merely set the stage for Herber's heroics. Patrick Beilein inbounded the ball with 1.9 seconds left, and Herber, curling off a screen, dribbled the ball once to just inside the halfcourt line in front of the Mountaineer bench and let fly. The shot hit nothing but net, setting off a wild celebration at midcourt, with Herber buried at the bottom of the pile.

To that point, West Virginia had held the lead for most of the game, but could never put the well-coached Jaguars away. WVU managed to build double digit leads in both halves, but IUPUI kept their composure and whittled away at the Mountaineer leads to keep themselves in the game.

Both teams shot the ball extremely well from three point range, with the Mountaineers hitting 10 of 20 tries and the Jaguars 13 of 25. West Virginia again gave up a high number of offensive rebounds (19), but managed to hold the Jaguars fairly even overall, losing that battle by just four at 40-36.

D'or Fischer had a double-double for the Mountaineers with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and nearly made it a triple with seven blocked shots. A tightly guarded Drew Schifino chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Kevin Pittnsogle and Patrick Beilein each added 10 points of their own.

In addition to hitting the game winning toss, Herber had six assists against no turnovers. The Mountaineers had just seven turnovers in the contest. IUPUI's Odell Bradley led all scorers with 27 points.

WVU (5-2), now heads to Miami to take on Florida on Saturday in the Orange Bowl Classic.

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