WVU basketball: How sweet it is to beat Marshall

SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 18: James Bolden
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 18: James Bolden /

The WVU basketball team proved once again that it owns the state of West Virginia. Even though there were sweet storylines with Marshall, it’s the Mountaineers who will always be the sweetest of them all.

In the Round of 32, the WVU basketball team dominated Marshall, 94-71. With the win, West Virginia advances to the Sweet 16 to face No. 1 seed Villanova.

The Thundering Herd actually built a nice lead early on and put the Mountaineers on the ropes, it appeared. But the stifling defense came through and Marshall was completely overwhelmed on the court.

The Mountaineers, led by Jevon Carter, forced 18 turnovers and created nine steals. Carter had five steals and also led the offensive explosion with 28 points. Lamont West had one of his best games in recent memory to finish with 18 points.

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The 94 points was the fourth-most scored by the WVU basketball team this season. West Virginia hadn’t eclipsed 90 points since putting up 101 points against NJIT at the beginning of the season. The Mountaineers also received solid contributions from James Bolden and Esa Ahmad who scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

West Virginia had a huge rebounding advantage against Marshall, 40-24. For the WVU basketball team, West had 10 boards while Sagaba Konate and Ahmad both had seven. For Marshall, Ajdin Penava had six rebounds and also led his team with 18 points.

The WVU basketball team shut down Marshall standout Jon Elmore, who appeared to be one of the mid-major darlings of this tournament. Elmore couldn’t take the pressure from Carter and Daxter Miles and coughed up the ball eight times, alone. He was limited to three points in the first half and finished with only 15.

This was another game where the Mountaineers really exercised their depth by scoring 39 bench points. A total of 11 players appeared in the game and all have potential to make an impact at any time. With Carter leading the way and others following suit, the Mountaineers are playing their best at the right time.

Next: All-time WVU basketball team

The toughest task for the WVU basketball team is coming on Friday evening. The Mountaineers take on the Jay Wright-coached Villanova Wildcats in Boston.