The Mountaineers maintained control throughout the first half, going on several runs including an 8-0 push on the backs of Jermaine Haley, Chase Harler and Deuce McBride.
No matter how good the West Virginia offense was, Northern Colorado would stay right behind. The Mountaineer lead would get as high as 17 at one point, but the Bears would always creep right back. A last second three-pointer at the half from Bodie Hume would seal this notion, cutting the lead to just 10 before the break.
The Bears came out of the locker room firing. A 14-2 second half run would eventually bring the Bears to within a bucket, forcing Bob Huggins to call a timeout.
“I’m not sure I can say what I said in the huddle,” Huggins joked.
West Virginia came out of that timeout and took momentum right back. The Mountaineers made their next 3 baskets, going on a 10-0 run to jump back out to a commanding lead.
“We just realized it was a four-point game, and it shouldn’t have been a four-point game,” Haley said. “…We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas the whole game and teams like that we should put out coming out of the second half.”
Derek Culver wouldn’t make his first appearance in the game until the 15:41 mark in the second half. He finished with X points, X rebounds and an assist. Instead, Taz Sherman would get the start in his place, with the Mountaineers putting three guards on the floor to tip the game off.
As for the reason, Huggins simply said, “I decided not to play him.”
Ultimately, the Mountaineers would have to stave off the Bears as the clock wound down in a free throw game, which they would.
West Virginia had their best rebounding performance of the year so far, out-rebounding the Bears 42-24.
“I think we should do that all the time,” Huggins said.
The Mountaineers are back at it on Friday at the WVU Coliseum, when they host Boston University.