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West Virginia-Morgan State Game Thread

2nd Half:

Final: WVU, 77-50. The Mountaineers had a rough start but ended up cruising over Morgan State and will play the Missouri-Clemson winner Sunday afternoon in HSBC Arena. Sophomore Kevin Jones led the way with 17 points and Devin Ebanks had 16. Morgan State guard Reggie Holmes, the school's all-time leading scorer, finished with 12 points on a forgettable afternoon. Holmes was a non-factor in the game. He scored seven of his 12 during a 49-second span with less than three minutes remaining and the outcome no longer in doubt. He left the game in tears, burying his head in coach Todd Bozeman's shoulder as the final second ticked off the clock. -- BG

3:57: WVU, 70-40. Garbage time. Huggins must be feeling better because his players were actually smiling in the huddle during a TV timeout. It's in direct contrast to early in the game when Huggins was screaming at them for sloppy play, poor shot selection and heaven knows what else came from his sharp tongue. OK, let's get to the second game between Missouri and Clemson. -- BG

7:47: WVU, 66-36. Morgan State senior Reggie Holmes would rather forget the last game of his college career. The Bears' leading scorer had two fouls early in the first half, limiting him to 11 minutes. He's been off his game in the second half, too, as the Mountaineers turned the game into what many expected. Holmes averaged 21.8 points per game and was the one guy who some thought could keep the game closer -- or at least get Morgan State closer. He hit a three-pointer to open the game but was just 1 for 10 and had 5 points in 23 minutes. -- BG

12:27: WVU, 56-32. West Virginia is in complete command after a miserable start. Coach Bob Huggins has gone to his bench to give his reserves some quality minutes in the tournament and his starters a rest with another game Sunday. He inserted freshman Deniz Kilicli, for example, giving the 6-9 forward from Istanbul, Turkey, some tournament experience. HSBC Arena is full, by the way, after a few thousand late comers made their way to their seats. -- BG

16:36: WVU, 48-29. The Mountaineers scored the first six points of the second half to take a commanding lead, and had now outscored Morgan State, 48-19, after the Bears' great start. West Virginia has a big advantage inside and is forcing Morgan State to take shots it doesn't want on the perimeter. Holmes is back on the floor, but looks out of sorts after playing only 11 minutes in the first half. He has three points, which is 18 less than his average. -- BG

1st Half:

Halftime: WVU, 38-27. West Virginia took its time getting its act together before dominating most of the final 10 minutes of the first half. Morgan State was giving up too many easy buckets inside and working too hard to get decent shots off on the other end. Holmes was sitting with two fouls, but c'mon. He's a senior. This is the NCAA Tournament. He can play with two fouls in the first half and still be effective. Todd Bozeman kept him on the bench even as the Mountaineers were pulling away. He should be able to trust his best player and leader. WVU couldn't put the ball in the ocean before settling down and making nine of 16 during one stretch. -- BG

3:10: WVU, 26-21. Mountaineers have their swagger back and are pounding it on the inside and, as expected, ruling the boards. Can't understand why Morgan State's Holmes has spent so much time on the bench. Bears' glaring weakness? Play at the point guard position. Transition opportunities aren't amounting to anything. -- BD

7:22: Morgan State, 19-17. Mountaineers have found their poise and coming on strong. Bears not finding quality shots anymore. They need to get Reggie Holmes, the school's all-time scoring leader, into the offense. Kevin Jones has been big part of WVU's revival.

11:56: Morgan State, 14, WVU 5: Mountaineers finally score their first field goal 7:46 into game. Bears getting penetration into the lane and getting good looks. Lead could actually be larger. -- BD

15:03: Morgan State 10, WVU 0???? Believe it. Mountaineers can't figure out how to attack Bears 2-3 zone and are missing from long range. Doesn't help when Casey Mitchell botches a layup. Bears playing undaunted and have been the far more comfortable team. Bob Huggins all over his club during this broadcast timeout. -- BD

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12:13: The arena is about two-thirds full just a few minutes before tipoff, but it should be full by halftime. Apparently, some people have to work Fridays. Morgan State and WVU represented well here. This joint will be jumping tonight when Syracuse plays Vermont. The last I heard, tickets were going for about $150 a seat from the scalpers. The play for tickets is working the streets and getting them outside shortly after tipoff, when the price is certain to come down. OK, tipoff is ... now.

-- BG

12:03: Really looking forward to seeing Morgan State's DeWayne Jackson, a 6-8 freshman from Bowie, Md. He was MEAC frosh of year and West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said Thursday he could have made the all-freshman team in any conference in country . . . Not sure what arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner the WVU band just played but they might want to bury it in a time capsule to be opened never. Why does everyone feel compelled to make the song theirs???

--BD

11:45 a.m.: What's this? Another beautiful sunny day in Buffalo, N.Y.? If this continues we're going to ruin our national rep! Made the short walk from The News to the arena an hour ago and the parking lots were starting to fill. We're coming up on tipoff for the HSBC opener, the second-seeded Mountaineers against the 15th-seeded Bears. Not much upset history favoring Morgan State here, but who knows after the way Ohio dismantled Georgetown Thursday night. The demise of G'Town and Notre Dame and Villanova's narrow escape has many wondering if the Big East's reputation far exceeds reality. Perhaps West Virginia will have something to say on that matter. Or perhaps the Bears have The Big Upset in them. We shall see.

--BD

-- Bob DiCesare and Bucky Gleason

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