WVU leans on Sherman’s 27 to defeat Radford

Gold and Blue Nation

Without McNeil, Mountaineers turn to Taz for victory

Taz Sherman’s 27 points led West Virginia as the Mountaineers took a 67-51 victory over Radford on Saturday in Morgantown.

Sherman notched his fourth game with more than 20 points of the season as he continues to carry the standard for WVU on offense. His strong game paved the way for several of Bob Huggins’s younger players to get some key developmental minutes in the second half.

Still, the coach wasn’t too pleased with what he saw in the second half.

“We played well for a while, like we have been doing,” Huggins said. “We played well then we quit playing.”

WVU was forced to rely on Sherman’s scoring after Sean McNeil was ruled out of the game with a lower back injury. The WVU guard not only became the focus of the WVU offense, but also the Radford defense — and he confirmed his opponents’ fears.

“When we found out McNeil wasn’t playing, we knew that Taz was definitely going to step it up, and that’s what he did, he made tough shots,” said Radford coach Darris Nichols.

Nichols made his first return to the WVU Coliseum as a head coach after taking the helm in the spring. The former WVU guard played two seasons under Bob Huggins and knew exactly what to prepare for, but he felt that his team didn’t react very well.

Specifically, he wanted his team to take care of the ball — West Virginia put a wrench in that, forcing 20 turnovers from the Hilltoppers and turning those into 31 points.

Pauly Paulicap was another bright spot for West Virginia, providing another efficient performance despite getting just eight minutes on the floor. In that time, however, he scored seven points on a perfect 3-for-3 while grabbing five rebounds and blocking a shot.

After the game, Nichols stopped by the Mountaineer locker room to give a few words to this year’s edition of his former program.

“I just told them, I said that I don’t know what Huggs is going to come in here and say, but he’s probably disappointed,” Nichols said. “I said, but…the thing I learned about playing for Huggs is if you listen to the tone instead of listening to the message, you’ll have no chance.”

The Mountaineers improve to 7-1 on the season as they prepare for their third opponent from a major conference, when they host UConn on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

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