CHARLESTON, W.Va.—This year’s Capital Classic had a different feel to it as No. 20 West Virginia defeated Marshall 86-68 on Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center.
Last season’s matchup was a little too close for comfort for the Mountaineers, but WVU’s smothering high-pressure defense eventually wore down the Thundering Herd this time around.
The Mountaineers forced 19 turnovers and held Marshall scoreless from 3-point range in the second half.
WVU took control of the game for good early in the second half with a 16-1 run.
“We sped them up,” Carter said. “They started missing shots, started getting tired. They had people cramping.”
Devin Williams was held to just nine points. The 6-foot-9 junior spent most of the night on the bench in foul trouble.
With Williams on the bench, Macon and Nathan Adrian picked it up for the Mountaineers.
The 6-foot-9 sophomore, Macon, shot 5 of 8 from the field. However, he made only 2 of 6 free throws.
“I thought that was probably as well as he’s played other than not being able to make a free throw,” head coach Bob Huggins said.
WVU outrebounded the Herd 48-32. They had 22 offensive boards.
During their key run in the second half, the Mountaineers scored four times off the rebound. Adrian’s putback gave WVU a 53-39 lead with 10:50 to play.
Jonathan Holton led WVU with eight rebounds. He also scored nine points.
The Mountaineers pushed their lead to 23, the largest of the game, with 1:38 to go in the game on a Miles’ layup.
WVU shot 46 percent from the field and 57 percent from the free throw line. The Mountaineers turned the ball over 17 times.
“We turned the ball over way too much,” Huggins said. “If we can get our turnovers to 10 or somewhere under that we could be a pretty good basketball team.”
Ryan Taylor scored 15 points for the Herd. Jon Elmore had 14 and James Kelly added 11.
WVU’s Carter and Marshall’s Taylor were named this year’s Eddie Barrett game MVP’s.
The Mountaineers have won their last five games against the Herd.
WVU returns to action on Monday night when they battle Eastern Kentucky at the Coliseum.