West Virginia holds off Maryland, advances to play Kentucky in Sweet 16


West Virginia’s strong defense put away Maryland in a 69-59 win in the Round of 32 Sunday night.

A fast pace tempo start and an early jump to their press defense got West Virginia out to a 9-5 lead with the Mountaineers going on a 7-0 run early in the first quarter.

Maryland’s Melo Trimble started heating up to get things going for the Terps as he drove hard to earn a layup to end West Virginia’s scoring run and on the next position hit a deep three.

Bu,t back-to-back 3-pointers from Jonathan Holton and Daxter Miles Jr cooled off the Terps for the time being as the Mountaineers led 15-10 with 14:50 to go in the first half.

A cold streak then fell upon the Mountaineers as they went 0-9 from the field in four straight minutes. The Terps took advantage of West Virginia’s poor shooting during their 9-0 run with 9:15 left in the first. Maryland jumped out to a 19-16 lead against the Mountaineers.

Miles stepped up by knocking down a huge three pointer with 9:05 to go in the first half to tie it up 19-19.

Scoring started heating up fast for both teams late in the first half as Devin Williams led the way with two consecutive jump shots and two foul shots. But Trimble kept making aggressive plays for Maryland to help them stay ahead.

By sticking with their full-court press, the Mountaineers forced four turnovers and went on a 8-3 run in the last three minutes of the half.

Going into the locker room, West Virginia led Maryland 34-33 at the half.

Juwan Staten drove in a layup and Gary Browne drilled back-to-back 3-pointers for West Virginia to get them out to a hot second half start.

Mar 22, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Gary Browne (14) brings the ball up court during the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Tough defensive by both teams made it trouble for anyone to buy a bucket midway through the second half.

The Mountaineers defense proved to be too much for the Terps. West Virginia forced Maryland to turn the ball over a total of 23 times.

Williams led the way for the Mountaineers by playing a huge game offensively and defensively. Williams had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

West Virginia went 24-60 (40 percent) from the field, 7-19 (37 percent) from behind the arc, and most importantly 14-19 (74 percent) from the four line.

It was a tough second half for Maryland’s Trimble as he took two hard falls which led to an apparent head injury that sidelined him the rest of the game.

West Virginia sealed the deal by continuing to force turnovers and getting easy baskets on the other end. They also hit crucial foul shots down the stretch.

The Mountaineers will now travel to Cleveland, Ohio to face undefeated No. 1  seed Kentucky on Thursday night.