Murray leads West Virginia past Radford 72-62
Immediately, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, whose program won for the 45th time at home against the last 46 nonconference opponents, implemented the trapping zone. His Mountaineers ran their lead from one to eight points with 6:23 showing.
West Virginia senior Deniz Kilicli and Browne trapped the ball in the back court, then Kilicli hit a streaking Browne with a perfect lead pass. Browne turned it into a three-point play. West Virginia forced a travel out of Rashun Davis, and Murray muscled up for a layup at the other end of the court.
After Green threw the ball out of bounds, Kilicli contributed a free throw. Finally, Murray, hustling all over the floor, made a steal which teammate Keaton Miles turned into another foul shot.
"We had a lot of freshmen out there playing," said Jones. "We saw the 1-3-1 earlier against Eastern Kentucky and UNC-Charlotte, but WVU's 1-3-1 is bigger and a little bit more aggressive. Initially, it threw us off. We didn't attack it. It allowed them to stretch their lead out. Once we got composed, we were able to get a couple shots."
The defensive show got the West Virginia faithful buzzing for the first time in a game that included 31 turnovers and 47 personal fouls.
The seven-point spell actually was part of a 24-13 streak the Mountaineers put on the Highlanders in the last 9:11. During that span, a Radford team that seemed to wear down in the face of a bigger, stronger home squad, knocked down just four baskets.
"Maybe the guys who played a lot of minutes got a little tired," said Jones. "I do think that we made mental errors because we got fatigued, particularly between the nine-minute mark and the six-minute mark in the second half, but I don't think that was the main factor."
Radford once held a three-point lead and the game was tied with 4:10 remaining in the first half when Murray contributed eight of nine West Virginia points to just one basket for the Highlanders to put his club ahead by four.
In the second half, the Mountaineers advanced the lead to 37-29 within the first three minutes.
However, Radford answered with a three-point play by Davis, a 3-point shot by Kyle Noreen, a subsequent steal and layup by Noreen and a three-point play by Jalen Carethers to push the Highlanders ahead 40-39 with 15:12 to go.
Immediately, West Virginia's Browne responded with a layup to give the Mountaineers a 41-40 lead they would not relinquish after Huggins' trapping defense went to work.
Radford's Noreen and West Virginia reserve Kevin Noreen are brothers who played high school basketball in Minneapolis.
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