The Mountaineers prevailed in what unsurprisingly turned into an old Big East brawl.
The West Virginia Mountaineers improved to 8-1 on the season after knocking off the No. 15 ranked UConn Huskies, 56-53, in a Big East-Big 12 Battle matchup in Morgantown. The Mountaineers’ win knots the series between the two conferences up at 3-3, with four games left to play over the next ten days.
After sitting out of Sunday’s game against Radford with a back issue, Sean McNeil returned to the West Virginia starting lineup and made his presence known almost immediately with back-to-back jumpers to put the Mountaineers up 4-1 within the first minute and a half of the game.
The two teams traded buckets over the next several minutes, but it would be UConn that ended up getting the advantage after putting together a 7-0 run over the span of a minute to take a 12-9 lead with just over 14 minutes remaining.
The two teams would trade the lead nine times throughout the remainder of the half, but West Virginia would control the advantage at the buzzer, clinging to a 32-29 halftime lead.
Out of the half, West Virginia took a five point lead on a made layup from Gabe Osabuohein. WVU would hold that lead for nearly seven minutes before back-to-back threes from RJ Cole would spark a 10-0 run from the Huskies, putting UConn out front 43-38 with 10:06 to go.
Connecticut’s lead would be a short one, as the Mountaineers grinded their way back to tie the game at 47-47 with just under seven minutes remaining.
Much like the majority of the game, the two teams continued to trade shots down the stretch, but the Mountaineers would take a late lead on a Taz Sherman layup. West Virginia extended the lead on free throws to secure the win.
Taz Sherman led West Virginia with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. McNeil finished the night with 16 points. Osabuohien scored 6 points and led with a team high 7 rebounds.
COMING UP NEXT
West Virginia will finish out their five game homestand on Sunday, when they’ll welcome the Kent State Golden Flashes into the WVU Coliseum. That game is scheduled to tip off at 4:00PM and will be broadcast on ESPN2.