Shooting Blanks

Marshall used clutch shooting and a double-double from Mark Patton to beat No. 9 West Virginia 58-52 Wednesday in the Capital Classic.

It was the Thundering Herd's (8-9) second consecutive win in the series, the first time MU has won two straight games over WVU (14-4) in 15 games since the rivalry was moved to Charleston. It was MU's biggest win since a victory over No. 8 St. John's.

Patton scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds. MU's Joe Miles and Tre Whitted added 13 and 11 points, respectively, and spearheaded the Herd's seven of 20 effort from 3-point range.

The Mountaineers, conversely, never found their shooting touch, the second straight year that they have not hit for a season average in points or shooting percentage. WVU, in finishing just 18 of 52 from the field (34.6 percent) made just five 3-pointers – its fewest of the year – in losing for the first time in 13 games. The loss snapped a national-best 12-game winning streak and rendered West Virginia 9-4 in out of conference play for the year.

WVU now leads the all-time series 24-10 and is 11-4 against the Herd in the neutral setting.

Kevin Pittsnogle, which guaranteed a win over Marshall, scored a game-high 20 points and Mike Gansey, half of the Big East's top scoring tandem along with Pittsnogle (both average 19.8 points), added just 10. Jo Herber also had 10 points.

WVU is also the Big East leader in in 3-point field goal percentage at .516, but managed to hit only five of 29 (17.2 percent), its worst performance of the season. The Mountaineers were more than four off their average of 10.65 3-pointers per game, leaving 12-plus potential points off the board.

West Virginia's biggest lead came after Pittsnogle layed-in a basket with 10:02 left in the first half for a 14-10 edge. It would make just two more field goals the rest of the half. After an MU free throw on the next series, Patton scored four consecutive points to push Marshall ahead 15-14. WVU took its final lead on Pittsnogle's two-pointer with 5:54 left. The Mountaineers trailed 24-20 at the break.

We'd give you halftime stats, except the Charleston Civic Center does not have wireless and MU's sports information department (MU was home) decided to print stats not at halftime, but with 3:33 left. That negated all of WVU's free throws and MU's late shots. But, as of 3:33 left, West Virginia was shooting just 36.4 percent (eight of 22) and hit just two 3-pointers (that was of halftime) and two of four free throws.

West Virginia pulled within two points five times in the second half, and one point once, but could never regain the lead. Marshall's Whitted drained a two long 3-pointers as the shot clock ran down and MU also scored on a pair of putbacks off misses as the shot clock wound down – bringing back memories of the Elite Eight loss versus Louisville, when the Cards did the same thing on four air-balls.

The last tie came at 47-47 with 2:07 remaining off Pat Beilein's driving lay-up. Patton and Whitted answered with consecutive baskets, the latter a long 3-pointer, to lead 52-47 with 43.9 seconds left. West Virginia never got closer than 52-20 on Pittsnogle's 3-pointer on the next possession.

WVU, last in field goal percentage defense (44.8) in the Big East, allowed Marshall to shoot 48 percent in the second half. MU is next to last in Conference USA in field goal percentage (41.3) and free throw percentage (64.0). It topped both when it went seven of nine from the line.

The attendance was 12,500. WVU lost the assist-to-turnover battle, finishing with 11-8 to Marshall's 16-11. West Virginia next plays at St. John's.

WVU beat Marshall 72-58 in the women's game. Meg Bulger scored 18 points, 11 on a perfect performance from the free throw line, and Chakhia Cole added 15 to pace the Mountaineers.

WVU led 30-27 at the break, then used an early seconds half spurt to maintain a double-digit lead through nearly all of the final 15 minutes. Britney Davis-White and Yelena Leuchanka each added 13 points. Bulger went just 3 of 13 from the field, however, compared to Cole and Leuchanka's combined 11 for 13 performance.

The Mountaineers (11-6) shot 59.1 percent (13-22) in the second half. Many buckets came on spread sets when WVU's guards found Cole and Yinka Sanni open underneath or inside the foul line for an eight-foot jumper. West Virginia had edges in shooting and rebounds.

Marshall had two players score 12 points and three in double figures.

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