The West Virginia University Men’s Basketball team made up for a tough shooting night as they forced the No. 4 seed Maryland Terrapins into a ridiculous amount of turnovers. In the end, WVU ran away with it late to win 69-59 Sunday night in an NCAA Tournament Round of 32 match-up at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
WVU opened up the scoring a minute into the contest when Devin Williams hit a pair of free throws to give the Mountaineers the early 2-0 lead. The old Gold and Blue were tough on the defensive press often and early in this one as West Virginia forced the Terrapins into two turnovers in the first six minutes of the ball game. WVU would take advantage as they went up by six points (16-10). Later in the period, WVU would force six more as Maryland would finish the half with eight.
Maryland held tough, shooting 12 of 22 (54.5%) from the field in the first half to stay within striking distance of the pressing Mountaineers. They would go on a 2:19 9-0 run to take a three-point lead mid-way through the half. The Terps and Mountaineers would trade the lead back and fourth a couple times the rest of the way before West Virginia ultimately took a one-point (35-34) lead into the break.
Early in the second half, the Mountaineers began to pull away, starting with back-to-back treys by Gary Browne to put West Virginia up by four. West Virginia would later go up by nine when the Mountaineers went on an 8-0 run spurred forward by a couple of lay-ups by Williams and Tarik Phillip. Jonathan Holton finished the game with a game-ending lay-up as WVU wins by ten points.
West Virginia finished the game 23 of 59 shooting (39.0%) from the field as a team, and were 7 of 19 (36.8%) from three-point land. They finished the game with a 32-30 advantage on the glass, and forced the Terrapins into an eye-popping 20 miscues.
Leading the way once again in the points category for the Mountaineers was sophomore forward Devin Williams. Williams went 5 of 12 from the field, and a perfect 6 of 6 at the foul line for a game-high 16 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists. Three other Mountaineers finished with double-digits as Gary Browne recorded 14, while Jonathan Holton and Daxter Miles Jr. each finished with 12 apiece.
Maryland was led in scoring on the night by freshman guard Melo Trimble. Trimble went 5 of 6 from the field, and 2 of 2 from beyond the arc for a team-high 15 points, seven rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Trimble’s night was cut short after suffering a scary ankle injury mid-way through the second half. Junior forward Jake Layman was the only other Terripan that went over double-figures on the night, finishing with 10 points.
West Virginia improves to 25-9 overall with tonight’s win, and advance to the “Sweet Sixteen” for the first time since 2010. Maryland’s season ends with tonight’s loss as they finish the year 26-8 overall. The Mountaineers will play the No. 1 overall seed, and undefeated Kentucky Wildcats next Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Tip-off is slated for approximately 9:30PM, and will be televised nationally on CBS.