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November 23, 2012Walt Disney World was not the happiest place on earth for the West Virginia basketball team Friday.
After seamlessly dispatching Marist in the first round of the Old Spice Classic, the Mountaineers dropped a hard-fought contest 63-60 against the Davidson Wildcats.
Much like yesterday against Marist, the Mountaineers opened up with a smothering defensive presence and up-tempo offense.
Falling down 8-2 early, the Mountaineers went on a quick 6-0 spark entering the under 16:00 timeout. Prompted by a big steal and fast-break from Juwan Staten, the Mountaineers continued to run the floor in transition, despite Davidson's best efforts to catch them off guard.
Davidson found forward Clint Mann racing down the floor following West Virginia's preceding fast break. But unbeknownst to him, Mountaineer Aaric Murray was in hot pursuit, sending the ball careening against the backboard with a monster block.
Sophomore Gary Browne caught the ball off Murray's block, taking it down the court for a layup and tying the contest at eight entering the under 16:00 timeout.
West Virginia's run continued out of the timeout, with freshman Terry Henderson nailing a key three-pointer directly off the bench to extend the Mountaineers' lead.
A couple of questionable calls from the officiating crew attempted to put the Mountaineers behind the eight-ball on the run. But strong, smothering defense from the interior gave Davidson fits as they attempted to crawl out of a short, early deficit. At the under 12:00 timeout, the Mountaineers maintained a 15-10 lead.
Coming out of the timeout, the Mountaineers continued to promote an up-tempo style of play, with a little aggression built in. On the returning possession, Deniz Kilicli displayed a welcome streak of intensity in the post, fighting off a duo of Davidson defenders for a big offensive rebound, and later capitalizing on it with a tough fight for two.
But the big star of this stretch was Jabarie Hinds. The sophomore scored two quick baskets and ran the offense, helping West Virginia hold on to a five point lead at the under 8:00 timeout, 21-16.
The Wildcats would come fighting back, however, going on a quick 4-0 run coming out of the timeout.
But the run would be short-lived. Entering the game for the first time in the afternoon, Matt Humphrey would knock down a key three-pointer right off the bench to quell the drive.
Davidson would try to return the favor defensively after a West Virginia stop, holding the Mountaineers to the final seconds on the shot clock. Hinds would attempt a desperation drive, falling short of the basket, but Murray found himself in position for the offensive rebound and put-back to extend West Virginia's lead.
Despite missing on the last-ditch effort, Hinds would swiftly recover with a clutch dribble-drive layup for the Mountaineers. The sophomore guard would follow up on this a mere three seconds later, stealing the ball from Davidson's Tyler Kalinoski in the front-court and dishing to Kilicli who was fouled on the shot attempt. The Mountaineers would take a 28-22 leading into the under 4:00 timeout.
Davidson would finally hit its big run as the first half came to a close. A series of defensive miscues and bad shots took the Mountaineers' minds out of the game and gave the Wildcats an opening.
The Wildcats would tie the game at 30 with just under a minute left, thanks to a Kalinoski three pointer, but the Mountaineers would take the lead into the half, 32-30 with a Staten layup near its end.
The sloppy play that plagued the Mountaineers at the end of the half continued coming out of the locker room. More defensive miscues and lackluster offensive intensity contributed to a quick 7-0 Davidson run in the first 2:30 minutes of the half, forcing a Huggins timeout to sort out the issues.
But the timeout would not fully help the struggling West Virginia squad. Entering the under 16:00 media timeout, the Wildcats sported a 19-4 run, pulling away to a 41-34 lead.
It was much of the same for the Mountaineers in the next four minutes of basketball, as the squad failed to get any traction on the court. A controversial foul call on Murray sent him to the bench with his fourth foul, forcing Noreen to fill his slot in the post.
But the cold shooting continued. The Mountaineers would go 0-7 from the field before Gary Browne broke the streak with a dibble-and-drive layup with just under 13:00 left, putting the Mountaineers behind six, 43-37.
The Mountaineers found little shooting improvement during the following span, continuing to struggle mightily from the field. Another long streak without a field goal would haunt the Mountaineers until a Kilicli put-back closed the gap to within single digits.
Davidson would recover with a pair of free throws to take an 11 point, 51-40 lead into the under 8:00 timeout.
West Virginia would find itself in a deficit exiting that timeout, but would attempt a final run to victory as the clock winded down. The Mountaineers' defense would put a two minute halt on the hot-shooting Wildcats, giving them a chance to get back in the game.
A big three pointer by Gary Browne off the dribble would result in a Davidson timeout and bring the crowd back in the contest.
However, the Wildcats would return the favor, getting back into the swing of their offense. A hard-fought layup by Murray would be answered quickly from Davidson as the Wildcats ate away at West Virginia's pressure defense.
An exchange of baskets in front of the ruckus crowd helped Davidson maintain a 57-51 lead with 2:40 timeout remaining.
The Mountaineers would pressure Davidson on the inbounds pass exiting the timeout, with Gary Browne making a diving attempt to pick off the pass. The ball was relayed to Murray for a quick layup to close the gap.
On the ensuing possession, however, Murray would foul out, putting Davidson at the line for two shots. The Mountaineers would recover a missed free throw attempt, with Henderson finding Staten open down court for an easy two.
The basket cut Davidson lead to three with 1:34 remaining.
An over-the-back foul on Humphrey by a Davidson defender would put him at the line with 1:16 remaining, but the senior would clank both off the front iron.
After rebounding the missed attempt, a Davidson guard would drive down the court, only to be picked off by Staten who would drive in for a layup, cutting the lead to one.
But the Wildcats would not be denied. On the ensuing possession, Davidson broke the West Virginia defensive pressure, finding an open Chris Czerapowicz in the corner for three. A Mountaineers timeout would follow, with the team down four and 45 seconds to play.
West Virginia would answer with a Henderson three of their own, however the possession would ultimately kill the Mountaineers' hopes. The freshman knocked down the shot, cutting the lead to one with only 13 seconds remaining.
A quick foul on a Davidson guard would put the ball in West Virginia's hands, down three, with 10 seconds remaining. The Mountaineers, however, were unable to get off a clean shot attempt as the clock expired.
Final score: Davidson, 63 West Virginia 60.
West Virginia was led in scoring Friday by Juwan Staten, putting up 15 points, with Gary Browne following with 11.
Deniz Kilicli had an impressive day statistically, putting up a double-double, 10 points and 11 rebounds amidst difficult post play.
The Mountaineers will play again this Sunday in the final round of the Old Spice Classic. Tip and opponent is TBD.
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