Truck Bryant bounced back from a subpar outing to record 22 points in West Virginia's 87-76 win over Marshall in the Capital City Classic and earn player of the game honors.
Bryant, using his poor performance at Marquette as motivation, scored 22 points on the strength of three three pointers and an 11-15 showing from the free throw line. Bryant added a two point field goal, one rebound, four assists and a steal in 37 minutes of action.
"We definitely needed this win," Bryant said. "I felt I let my team down in the last game, but I learned a lot from that. It's hard when you have a game like that, but I was able to do that."
A key from Bryant was keeping himself under control and not trying to do too much, especially early in the contest. He was able to manage the pace of the game in the early going and helped WVU build an early ten point lead. Bryant had seven consecutive points midway through the first half they put the Mountaineers up by 14 with 4:53 to play.
Although his performance was not as dominating as last year's, official Curtis Shaw again injected himself into the spotlight. The three-man crew, led by Shaw, whistled a numbing 54 fouls, including 34 in the second half. Shaw's penchant for controlling the game wrecked any sort of continuity over the final 15 minutes, which took a ridiculous one hour and ten minutes to play.
Shaw also set an unofficial record by calling three fouls while just one second ran off the clock, with two of them on Wellington Smith. Shaw's impressive run also included a call against Tyler Wilkerson. During the three-call spree, the clock turned over from just 7:01 to 7:20.
West Virginia's free throw shooting was a key factor in blunting Herd ally attempts. The Mountaineers hit 30 of their 42 tries from the line, with Bryant leading the parade at 11-15. Also notable was John Flowers 2-2 performance, which makes him 8-8 since implementing a drastic change to his free throw motion. WVU was 22-31 in the second half as the Herd grappled, grabbed and shoved in an attempt to get back into the contest.
Leading 34-23 at the half, WVU came out on fire from the perimeter. The Mountaineers hit four consecutive jumpers, three of them three-pointers, to push West Virginia's lead to 20 at 45-25. Truck Bryant got the spree started with a pair of bookend threes around Alex Ruoff's make, and Da'Sean Butler capped the run with a jumper from just inside the line. The run put Marshall into a deep hole, and when the Herd produced a run midway through the second half that cut the lead to ten, West Virginia still had a cushion -- thanks largely in part to the early barrage.