West Virginia settled down. Staten thought it was just a product of so many young players getting used to the nature of the game with Marshall. But it was more than that. It was Staten taking control.
"We got in a bind. We weren't really making shots and we weren't handling the ball very well,'' Staten said. "So I said, 'Give it to me.'"
Huggins was happy to do just that.
Over those final 12 minutes, the Mountaineers inched closer but never got over the hump. But they weren't falling behind, either. And in the final five minutes, with Marshall leading 62-58, West Virginia just took control. West Virginia outscored Marshall 16-2 the rest of the way, giving the ball to Staten and letting him create offense and turning to a half-court trapping defense that limited the Herd to just two free throws.
Of course, it also helped that West Virginia got a boost from an entirely unexpected source. Freshman forward Brandon Watkins, who didn't even play Tuesday against Gonzaga, had 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, giving the Mountaineers an inside presence.
"I saw a lot of things out of Brandon today that I hadn't seen all year,'' Staten said.
When all was said and done, Staten would finish with 19 points for West Virginia (7-4), while Terry Henderson added 13, Gary Browne and Watkins 12 apiece and Eron Harris 11.
West Virginia overcame those 16 turnovers and 20 fouls, in large part because they committed none down the stretch, but also because they shot 50 percent for the game.
Canty led Marshall (4-6) with those 16 points and nine assists, while TyQuane Gourd and Chris Thomas had 11 points each. The Herd committed 25 fouls and was horrid once again in shooting free throws, making just 10 of 24 to WVU's 20 of 28.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1