West Virginia will look to have an easier time against Bellarmine than it did against Eastern Kentucky when it hosts the Knights in Morgantown, W.V., on Tuesday evening.
The Mountaineers (5-1) received a career-high 28 points from Taz Sherman to lead an 80-77 comeback victory over EKU last Friday night. Old Dominion transfer Malik Curry stepped up with 10 of his 16 points over the final seven minutes to avoid an upset.
"When I talked to (Old Dominion head coach) Jeff (Jones), Jeff said he makes big plays and he's made some big plays for us," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said after the win. "He made some big plays for us today, that's for sure."
West Virginia trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half but rallied behind solid defense and sharp shooting over the final 20 minutes. However, the Mountaineers struggled mightily from 3-point range, shooting just 21.7 percent. Sean McNeil was held to five points on 2-of-11 shooting.
Bellarmine (2-5), meanwhile, is coming off a 75-37 win over Division III foe Franklin College on Sunday. Curt Hopf led the way with 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Three others scored in double figures in the team's second consecutive win, but Dylan Penn notched just eight points against Franklin after he led the way with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting in a win over Central Michigan.
On the season, fellow guard CJ Fleming is the only other Knight in double figures in scoring, so it'll take a lot more punch for Scott Davenport's squad to keep up with the Mountaineers.
The Knights have been road-weary. In addition, Davenport was under the weather and missed the CMU game.
"It has been a long haul," assistant Doug Davenport said. "Saint Mary's was an unbelievable challenge for us. Gonzaga was overwhelming. Against UCLA, we were far from perfect. But the attitude and competitiveness were great. If we can keep moving forward, we're going to be where we want to be."
West Virginia will certainly offer another tough test with its rugged and physical defensive style.
--Field Level Media