The West Virginia men’s basketball team took care of business in the first round of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic tournament on Thursday night, 87-68.
The Mountaineers began their night in Charleston shooting the ball well as a senior guard Kedrian Johnson three-pointer off an Elon turnover gave West Virginia the quick 3-0 lead 50 seconds into action. Then only three minutes later, sophomore forward Jalen Bridges knocked down a three-pointer for the 13-5 advantage.
Fifth year guard Taz Sherman proceeded to hit a three pointer on the Phoenix defense four minutes into the first to extend the Mountaineer lead to 16 points. Fifth-year forward Gabe Osabuohien two-point jumper helped pull West Virginia away from an Elon slim deficit seven minutes into regulation.
Elon junior guard Hunter Woods made it a three-point ballgame with 13 minutes left before halftime knocking down a three-pointer off a steal of the West Virginia offense. Sophomore guard Darius Buford also contributed plenty on the night after hitting a couple two-point jumpers and a three-point heave through the opening 10 minutes.
A big time steal and score alley-oop taken away by Sherman before dishing the rock off to freshman guard Kobe Johnson made it a double-digit advantage for West Virginia seven minutes before the half, 30-20.
West Virginia made it a 15-point game with five minutes remaining in the first half when McNeil hit a three-pointer following another two-point jumper a minute prior to keep the Mountaineer lead at double digits.
Elon then went on a 14-6 run in the final five minutes of the half which included six points off the fingers of senior Torrence Watson. Before the two-teams headed to the half with West Virginia only leading by seven, there was an altercation between the teams which looked like some jawing in some tight competition.
Johnson began the scoring again in the second half for West Virginia on a steal and layup off Elon’s offense. The senior then went in for a layup five minutes into the half for the 15-point West Virginia lead.
There were a couple nice Hunter’s on the night for the Phoenix offense as junior guard Hunter McIntosh also added a three pointer for Elon three minutes into the second half. Sherman provided a majority of the scoring over the next several minutes of the second half chipping in 10 points and a dunk on a turnover before the halfway mark of the second half.
Some more offensive outcome redshirt freshman forward Isaiah Cottrell hit a three-pointer a couple minutes later. A couple fifth year forward Pauly Paulicap free throws paced the Mountaineer scoring with four minutes left in the game, 80-64.
The West Virginia defense making some much needed turnovers throughout the remainder of the matchup and fifth year guard Malik Curry getting fouled a number of times gave West Virginia the victory, 87-68.
Overall on the night Sherman led the West Virginia offensive scoring attack dropping in 27 points while McNeil’s 16 points and going two for four from the three-point line led the team. Cottrell also went three of four from the floor and sunk nine points.
West Virginia will now take on Marquette on Friday night in the next round of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic at 7 p.m. from TD Arena in Charleston, South Carolina on ESPN.