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West Virginia Comes Up Short Against Temple In NIT Season Tip-Off Championship

The Mountaineers were their own worst enemy, turning the ball over 16 times.

NCAA Basketball: NIT Season Tip-Off-Temple vs West Virginia Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia’s attempt at erasing a 20-point halftime deficit fell just a bit short on Friday in the NIT Season Tip-Off championship game in Brooklyn, giving the Mountaineers their first loss of the 2016-17 season. The Mountaineers lost to the Temple Owls, 81-77.

West Virginia jumped out to an early 7-0 lead but then went cold, allowing the Temple Owls to come roaring back into the game, going on a run that many thought would be insurmountable. West Virginia committed 11 turnovers in the first half, and only forced the Owls into eight turnovers. The Mountaineers finished the half shooting just 32.3% to Temple’s 55.2%, and Temple would take a 45-25 lead into the locker room.

Bob Huggins lit a fire under his team during the break, and the Mountaineers began quickly chipping away at the 20-point deficit. With 9:16 remaining in the game, Teyvon Myers hit a jumper to knot the game up at 62 all. West Virginia and Temple battled back and forth to finish out the game but a missed rebound by Jevon Carter ended up in the hands of Temple’s Alani Moore, giving Temple a chance to build their lead late.

Temple was led by Obi Enechionyia, who scored 18 of his 22 points in the first 20 minutes of the game and finished with 12 rebounds. Moore and Daniel Dingle finished with 18 and 15 points, respectively.

For the Mountaineers, Esa Ahmad lead the team with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Teyvon Myers contributed 15 points off the bench. Nathan Adrian and Tarik Phillip both finished with 13 points.

The Mountaineers return to Morgantown to face the Manhattan Jaspers at 7:00 PM Eastern on Monday to finish out the NIT Season Tip-Off. That game will, once again, be broadcast on ROOT Sports.