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Red Storm Survive Late Mountaineer Push To Win 70-68

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A very questionable call gave the Red Storm two free throws with five seconds left

NCAA Basketball: Rhode Island at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12-Big East matchup between the St. Johns Red Storm and the West Virginia Mountaineers was a classic Big East matchup that fans who watched these two teams square off in the late 90s and 2000s. The Mountaineers led by as much as five in the first half but St Johns’ pressure and tenacity closed the gap and the two teams entered halftime tied at 36.

In the second half, the Mountaineers shooters went cold, a theme that has refreshed itself throughout this season, and the Red Storm pushed the lead to as much as 10. As the second half wound down, Bob Huggins switched up his lineup and his matchup zone and slowly the ‘Eers would chip away at the lead. The Red Storm, a team that thrives on speeding up its opponents and turning them over, missed 13 of their last 14 shots as the Mountaineers made their way back and eventually tied the game up on a Sean McNeil trey.

With a chance to give the team the lead late, the Mountaineers couldn’t find the basket and eventually gave the Red Storm the ball back with 16 seconds left. As St Johns ran their set, Rasheem Dunn drove to the basket and slipped and as he did, threw up a shot and a foul was called on Derek Culver. It was a questionable call at best and Dunn, who was hot from the free throw line, knocked down both free throws to give the Red Storm the final margin of victory.

STATS THAT MATTER

Derek Culver finished with a double-double, 12 points and 18 rebounds, including 14 defensive rebounds.

Sean McNeil continues to be a threat from deep, knocking down 4 of 7 three pointers. He was the only other Mountaineer to score in double figures.

The Mountaineers outshot St. Johns 40% to 32% in the game and 37.5% to 11% from behind the arc.

West Virginia turned the ball over 22 times.

West Virginia shot only 41% from the free throw line, missing 7 of their 12 shots.