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West Virginia holds off VCU, advances to Crossover Classic championship game

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Tomorrow. 1:30PM. This one’s for all the mowers.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 15 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers advanced to 2-0 on the young season this afternoon with a 78-66 victory over the VCU Rams in the semifinal round of the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic.

The game was once again played in the empty Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but West Virginia fans had the unfortunate pleasure of having to endure former Mountaineer head coach Dan Dakich’s color commentary for the afternoon.

The Mountaineers opened the game on a 13-0 run, and held the Rams scoreless from the field for the first nine minutes of the game. West Virginia grew the lead to 24-9 with 8:00 remaining in the first half before the Rams began chipping away at the 15 point lead.

VCU closed the lead to two points with 4:56 remaining, but couldn’t overtake the lead as Culver struck again — this time with some help from Oscar Tshiebwe and Sean McNeil — to put West Virginia on top 42-33 at the half.

The Rams would come out of the locker room to once again go on a run of their own, closing West Virginia’s lead to three points with 16:33 remaining.

A trio of made three pointers from Taz Sherman and McNeil would put West Virginia back up 12 points, and the Mountaineers would grow that to a 16 point advantage with 8:30 left in the half.

VCU were unable to put another run together to chip away at the lead, and the Mountaineers cruised into tomorrow’s Crossover Classic championship game.

Culver led West Virginia with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Oscar Tshiebwe finished with 11 points and a team-leading 16 rebounds. Sean McNeil had a good outing, closing out the afternoon with 16 points. Miles McBride added 12.

The Mountaineers are back in action tomorrow, as they’ll take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the championship game. Tip off is scheduled for 1:30 PM ET, and will be broadcast on ESPN. West Virginia fans will also be thrilled to hear that Dan Dakich will once again be on the call.