West Virginia v. Morgan State -- a game thread

Written by Colin Dunlap on .

By Colin Dunlap | 10:49 a.m. Friday


Sitting on press row, as the media room is a bit cramped.

We can begin the day now in an official capacity, as the following two men have arrived:

11:12 a.m.: Forgot to pass this along. Some knucklehead talked about the tournament on 93.7 The Fan this morning: LINK

11:51 a.m.: This is a bit strange to me. Both in the prelimanary warmups and the layup line just before the game now, the Mountaineers were on the floor well before Morgan State...I mean, more than 5 minutes before. Just seemed a bit weird. I don't know who was late and who was early.

12:01 p.m.: They just played Oh Canada. Which is very, very puzzling. This game is not being played in Canada and there are no Canadian teams in the NCAA. This is a truly American tournament, so was there really a need for Oh Canada.

12:07 p.m.: I will say this: Morgan State passes the look test.

12:15 p.m.: You saw it with Robert Morris yesterday -- you have to take these lower seeds out early. Because, if you allow them to hang around, the people in the crowd who are impartial, will begin to cheer for the long shot. That said, the Mountaineers, if they want to keep this building from turing on them, have to start hot.

12:21 p.m.: 8-0 Morgan State. This is as poor a start the Mountaineers could hope for.

12:23 p.m.: WVU is 0 for its first 8 and down 10-0. Huggs is losing his mind in the timeout.

12:33 p.m.: The Mountaineers are now 1 for 12. And down 14-5. They are absolutely sleepwalking.

12:38 p.m.: West Virginia is beginning to play a bit of defense. Have cut it to 16-9. They are down 7 and playing much, much better than early on -- but still, far from good.

12:46 p.m.: The Mountaineers just took their first lead at 5:42 left in the half (22-21)'s a prediction: They might not trail again.

12:53 p.m.: West Virginia has made it 26-21...again, they will not trail again. This one might just be over with 3:10 left before the half. Kevin Jones has 11 and has provided the biggest spark, without question. Also, as predicted a ton of WVU fans here.

1:02 p.m.: West Virginia is up 38-27 at the half and well in control, this one is absolutely over. The Mountaineers took the hardest blow Morgan State could muster in the opening 7 minutes and that was it, the Bears punched themselves out.

1:18 p.m.: Some halftime stats: K Jones has 13 points; Ebanks has 10. WVU is 14 for 32 and 8 for 11 at the line. Here is a big one: WVU has 13 assists on their buckets; Morgan has just 2.

1:23 p.m.: Anyone else think it is ridiculous they always put new nets up at the sites for the tournament and they get flipped all the time? This leads to endlessly stopping the game, having someone jump up and pull them down.

3:37 p.m.: The Internet situation here is absolutely ridiculous. I have been dead in the water for a few hours. Here is the early game story:

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- West Virginia fought off an early scare, got its act straightened out and rolled past Morgan State, 77-50 this afternoon at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo in a first-round NCAA tournament game.

The Mountaineers -- the No. 2-seed in the East region -- advanced their record to 28-6 and, on Sunday, will play the winner of today's clash between Clemson and Missouri.

Morgan State, looking to become the fifth No. 15-seed in tournament history to earn an opening round win, had its season end with a 27-10 record as West Virginia was led in scoring by Kevin Jones, who had 17, and Devin Ebanks' 16.

West Virginia was deplorable at the beginning, as the squad missed its first 11 shots and fell behind, 10-0 in the early going, and didn't score a field goal in the opening 7 minutes, 45 seconds.

But the Mountaineers remaining steady against Morgan State's zone, never deviating from their intended offensive course and slowly climbed back into it.

They narrowed the disadvantage and narrowed the disadvantage until West Virginia took its first lead, 22-21 with 5:42 remaining in the half on a Joe Mazzulla free throw.

Coach Bob Huggins' team never trailed again.

From there, the Mountaineers cruised into halftime, distancing themselves from the MEAC champions and securing a 38-27 halftime lead.

In the second half, it was much of the same, as West Virginia strolled through the remaining 20 minutes keeping the Bears at a more than safe distance, holding a lead of more than 20 points for much of the time.

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