West Virginia overwhelmed Maryland with its pressure and fast pace in the Round of 32 in Columbus, Ohio as they advance to the Sweet 16 to face the #1 ranked team, Kentucky. After a tough, fast-paced game, the Mountaineers were able to pull away in the second half to defeat the Terrapins 69-59. Devin Williams played like a man possessed and finished with a double-double: 16 points and 10 rebounds. Gary Browne, too, came up big adding 14 of his own. But the biggest star of this game was the West Virginia defense, who hounded Maryland every second of the game.
In the first half, West Virginia came out firing threes early, which may seem both dangerous and scary for many Mountaineer fans, but on this night, they fell early and often with Gary Browne, Jonathan Holton and Daxter Miles Jr. each draining treys. After another pair of 7-0 runs, WVU found intself up 16-10with around 14 minutes left to play. These early runs are something something I'm sure we could all get used to, especially against the mighty Kentucky Wildcats. The first 6 minutes were played very fast, which certainly favored the Mountaineers. Unfortunately, WVU went cold for the next 5 minutes going 0-9 from the field including some easy shots missed around the basket.
Maryland responded with their own 6-0 run to tie the game at 16 with 12 left to play. The Terrapins then extended their run with a 3 to take a three point lead over the Mountaineers. Not to be outdone, Daxter Miles Jr. again nailed another three to tie the game at 19. A WVU steal and layup put the Mountaineers up 21-19 but Maryland answered with a 3 to retake the lead. At this point Maryland was 5 of 8 from 3 point land.
In addition to defending the three, Melo Trimble caused all kinds of problems for WVU defensively as he started the game with 11 points with just over 3 left to play in the first half. At one point Trimble was 4 of 5 from the field with 0 turnovers and 5 assists. However, after some back and forth, WVU tied it up 31-31 with just over two before Maryland hit yet another 3 to take a 34-31 lead with 2:02 left in the first half. From that point on, it was all West Virginia as the Mountaineers turned the Terrapins over time and again to take the lead 35-34 going into halftime on a pair of Devin Williams free throws.
The start of the second half saw Maryland coming out early with a 3 point And-1 play, giving the lead back to them before Juwan Staten drove in for his own two point play. After another Maryland turnover, downtown Gary Browne hit a three to retake the lead. Maryland follows with a 2, but Browne comes back down and drains another 3. A Jevon Carter steal leads to a monstrous dunk by Devin WIlliams and the Mountaineers took a 45-39 lead. Not to be outdone, Trimble answers with his own 3, which cut the WVU lead to 3 with 15:00 left to play in the second half. Sloppy play by both sides dominated the next few minutes as both teams failed to score until Maryland snapped the drought with 2 at the 12:12 mark. With the lead cut to 2, Tarik Phillip drove for a two to extend the Mountaineer lead to 3.
Just past the midway point of the second half, WVU took a 5 point lead after another score by Tarik Phillip. At this point, it seemed as though WVU's defense had started to get into they psyche of the Terrapins as they started to repeatedly rush shots. After another defensive rebound by the Mountaineers and a runout to score 2, Melo Trimble took his third hard fall of the game. Immediately, on the inbound, Maryland was called for its second five second violation of the game. The Mountaineers were unable to convert, but Phillip anticipated a pass as the Terrapins tried to move the ball up the coart and made a beautiful steal before feeding the ball to Miles for a huge dunk, giving WVU its biggest lead of the game 55-46 with 7:04 left to play.
With Trimble out of the game due to an apparent head injury, the entire dynamic of the game changed in WVU's favor. The Mountaineers started turning the Terps over almost at will, but still let them hang around and cut the lead to 5 with an easy three with just over 5 minutes left in the half. WVU answered by hitting a 3 of their own and extended their lead back to 8 with 3:44 to play.
Maryland then tried to take a page out of the WVU playbook by turning up the pressure on the Mountaineers. While this was effective at times on the offensive side of the ball, the West Virginia defense continued to take the ball away, leading to fast break points and offensive opportunities. The Mountaineers and Terrapins took turns trading baskets and turnovers and with 1:30 left WVU found itself up 63-57. With the clock winding down, Maryland was forced to foul and put Gary Browne on the free throw line with under a minute to play. Browne, again, didn't disappoint and hit both shots to put the mountaineers up by 8. Maryland's next possession ended with a defensive rebound by Browne, who was, again fouled. After repeating this sequence several more times, the Mountaineers finally closed out the game with a steal and a finish by Holton for a final of 69-59.
WVU moves on to face Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.
Here are the final stats of the game:
West Virginia Mountaineers
|Jonathan Holton, F||5-10||1-2||1-2||2||1||3||0||1||0||1||3||12|
|Devin Williams, F||5-12||0-0||6-6||3||7||10||2||1||0||2||1||16|
|Daxter Miles Jr., G||4-8||2-4||2-2||1||1||2||2||0||0||0||3||12|
|Gary Browne, G||4-6||3-4||3-4||2||1||3||0||5||0||1||3||14|
|Juwan Staten, G||2-8||0-1||2-5||1||1||2||6||1||0||3||1||6|
|Nathan Adrian, F||0-2||0-2||0-0||1||1||2||0||0||0||1||2||0|
|Brandon Watkins, F||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Elijah Macon, F||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||2||0|
|Chase Connor, G||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jevon Carter, G||1-7||1-4||0-0||1||2||3||0||6||0||1||3||3|
|Jaysean Paige, G||0-1||0-1||0-0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Tarik Phillip, G||3-5||0-0||0-0||2||2||4||1||1||0||0||0||6|
|Damonte Dodd, F||1-2||0-0||1-1||2||3||5||0||0||4||0||2||3|
|Melo Trimble, G||5-6||2-2||3-4||0||7||7||1||1||0||3||0||15|
|Richaud Pack, G||1-2||0-1||0-1||1||1||2||1||0||0||0||0||2|
|Dez Wells, G||3-8||1-2||2-2||0||5||5||2||0||2||8||5||9|
|Jake Layman, G||4-6||2-3||0-1||1||1||2||3||0||0||5||3||10|
|Evan Smotrycz, F||2-4||2-3||0-0||1||3||4||0||1||0||2||1||6|
|Jon Graham, F||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Michal Cekovsky, F||2-3||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||1||1||0||3||4|
|Jared Nickens, G||2-7||1-4||1-1||2||0||2||0||0||0||1||0||6|
|Dion Wiley, G||1-6||0-4||0-1||1||1||2||0||1||0||1||3||2|
|Varun Ram, G||0-0||0-0||2-2||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||2|