EKU Coach Jeff Neubauer's return to the Coliseum was bittersweet at best. An assistant under John Beilein from 2002-05, Neubauer capped his time in Morgantown with WVU's 2005 run to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16. Sunday, he watched his Colonels suffer their third loss in four games. But they battled back in a tough environment, thanks in part, he said, to a reliance on ball screens.
"The ball screening was much more effective than trying to run our offense," he said. "We were trying to run our passing offense, our normal offense, and that's hard to do against a Bob Huggins-coached team. He's going to deny and the ball pressure was just too much in the first half."
Murray said WVU's problems in the second half had more to do with defensive breakdowns.
"I think we let up on defense," he said. "In the first half, we were more intense and more into it. In the second half, we kind of like let up and that's when they started to create and make shots."
WVU struggled in the game's opening minutes, but that drought didn't last long. The Mountaineers missed their first five shots while the Colonels reached the hoop with ease. EKU's first three baskets came on a dunk and two layups.
WVU opened up the game with a 14-2 run that turned the Colonels' 4-0 lead into a 14-6 deficit that kept growing as the half progressed. West Virginia seized and maintained the momentum by eliminating the easy looks under the basket.
The Mountaineers blocked five first-half shots and held EKU to just eight baskets in 29 first-half attempts. Three of those baskets came from the 3-point line.
The Mountaineers, meanwhile, lived in the paint, scoring 18 first-half points there. WVU led by as many as 16 before halftime and entered the break up 35-22.
EKU's Cosey led all scorers with 21 points, including hitting five of 10 3-point shots. Mike DiNunno and Orlando Williams each scored 10 for the Colonels. Murray led all players with 12 rebounds.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.