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Marshall beats Mountaineers in OT, 81-79

CHARLESTON, W.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Finally, the ball bounced the right way for the Marshall Thundering Herd and head coach Greg White.

Tamar Slay’s rebound and layup off an airball with 34 seconds left in overtime gave Marshall an 81-79 win over instate rival West Virginia Wednesday at the Civic Center.

The win was the first for Marshall in five tries under White.

"West Virginia played an outstanding game. That’s the best team play I’ve seen from them. But you have to get a bounce or two, and we got a stop and a rebound at the end," White said.

Slay led Marshall with 23 points while Ronald Blackshear had 20. J. R. VanHoose finished with 12 points and a career-high 18 rebounds and Montry Wright added 10 points.

West Virginia’s Drew Schifino had 18 points, Chris Moss scored 16, Josh Yeager 13, Jay Hewitt and Lionel Armstead 11, and Chaz Briggs had 10.

The game was stopped and the stands evacuated with 8:51 to play – 9:31 p.m. EST – and Marshall leading 62-55. The fire alarm sounded but it proved to be a false alarm. White said West Virginia’s shooting, not the delay, helped erase the Herd’s 18-point lead.

"We really played hard, but once (West Virginia) got going and started knocking down shots, that was hard to stop," White said.

The first six minutes of the game were comprised of missed shots and turnovers. Marshall was 1-of-10 from the field with four turnovers but still led 3-0 five minutes deep into the game.

West Virginia was 0-of-7 with five turnovers before scoring around the 14 minute mark.

"We shot 38 percent and won the basketball game. I thought we did an outstanding job on the boards. J.R. was outstanding. Tamar Slay didn’t score the first half and got 23 for us," White said as the Herd held a 45-38 rebound advantage.

The Herd went on an 8-0 run to take a 13-4 lead. Schifino’s three-point play at the 8:39 mark gave West Virginia its first lead at 14-13.

With the score 18-18, Marshall went on a 13-5 run and led 31-23. But Schifino’s 18-footer just before the buzzer made it 31-25 at the half.

Marshall came out and built as much as an 18-point lead only to have the Mountaineers closed the gap to 51-43 with 12:05 left as Schifino hit a jumper.

Schifino hit a 3-pointer to draw West Virginia within 51-46, but Slay’s 3-pointer put the lead at 54-46. Schifino hit yet another 3-pointer only to have Blackshear answer with his own trifecta to make it 57-49.

Slay, who had just three points the first half, drained a 3-pointer at the 9:35 mark and it was 62-51.

West Virginia came storming back as Yeager hit a 3-pointer and then a baseline runner to tie the game at 62-62 with 6:38 left.

The Mountaineers took a 64-63 lead and then Blackshear sank two foul shots with 5:51 on the clock to put the Herd back on top. The lead then changed hands six times until it was tied the game at 71-71 with just over a minute to play.

Hewett then came up with a steal with less than 50 seconds to go, but he missed a shot from point blank range and Slay threw up a long 3-pointer that missed as time ran out in regulation.

The game was tied four times in overtime until Slay put back an airball 3-point attempt by Blackshear with 34 seconds remaining.

Hewitt missed a layup in traffic under the basket with four seconds left and VanHoose grabbed the rebound and was fouled with two seconds on the clock.

VanHoose missed the one-and-one attempt and a desperation shot from three-quarter court bounced hard off the rim as time expired.