Monday, October 24, 2016

West Virginia beats Maryland to advance to Sweet 16

Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst

Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst

COLUMBUS, Ohio–Devin Williams scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the fifth-seeded West Virginia  Mountaineers knocked off  fourth-seeded Maryland 69-59 in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night.

The Mountaineers punched their ticket to to the Sweet 16 and will try to knock off the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

Gary Browne scored 14 points for the Mountaineers. Jonathan Holton and Daxter Miles Jr. added 12 apiece.

West Virginia has not been in the Sweet 16  since 2010 when it advanced to the Final Four. The Mountaineers defeated the Wildcats that year.

Melo Trimble tallied 15 points for Maryland, but missed the final eight plus minutes after he was injured for the third time. Jake Layman had 10 points.

The two teams were dead locked in an uphill battle for most of the game before the Mountaineers’ pressure defense caused problems for the Terrapins. West Virginia’s full-court press forced Maryland to turn the ball over on numerous accounts.

“Their press, it was good,” senior Dez Wells said. “They kept throwing a lot of bodies at us. And we turned the ball over a lot more than we usually do.”

The Terps turned the ball over 23 times, which led to 26 points for West Virginia.

Tarik Phillip once again came up big for the Mountaineers.  After a Maryland miss, the freshman had his shot blocked but quickly grabbed the rebound and connected with 10:08 left.

Moments later, Staten threw a pass to Miles behind the defenders for a layup. That was the play that took Trimble out for good with concussion-like symptoms.

Phillip sent the Mountaineer faithful into a frenzy when he stole a pass and fed Miles for a dunk to put West Virginia in front 55-46 with 7:15 left.

But the Terps refused to go away. Layman dunked over West Virginia’s big man Holton with 2:34 to play to pull within six.

The first half was much like the second with both teams battling back and forth early on.  The Terps jumped out to a 5-2 lead when Trimble dropped a three.

West Virginia answered Maryland by going 3-for-3 from beyond-the-arc. Miles, Holton and Browne each dropped a three to put the Mountaineers in front 15-10.

Trimble carried Maryland in the first half, scoring 12 points.

Williams knocked down two free throws at the end of the half to send the Mountaineers to the locker room leading 35-34.

West Virginia will be making its sixth Sweet 16 appearance since 1998 and third under head coach Bob Huggins.

The Mountaineers and Oklahoma are the only Big 12 teams remaining after Kansas lost to Wichita State on Sunday.



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