CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After a one-year hiatus, the Capital Classic got back to its old, physical self on Wednesday night.
The West Virginia men's basketball team emerged from the smoke to beat Marshall 69-59 in a 40-minute brawl.
It featured 45 fouls, including five technical fouls, and a fracas near the end that led to five players - four Mountaineers and one member of the Herd - getting ejected.
The game's physical nature was no surprise to WVU senior forward Deniz Kilicli.
"It's every Capital Classic," said Kilicli, who was named West Virginia's player of the game following his 21-point performance.
Things reached a boiling point with 1:37 left and WVU (3-3) holding a 61-54 lead.
Kilicli had just scored on a layup and Marshall forward Robert Goff and WVU's Juwan Staten got tangled up under the basket. That tussle heated up and four Mountaineers left the bench and came toward the fray.
Once the two teams were separated and the officials took several minutes to sort things out, Goff was tagged with a flagrant foul and ejected, while Aaric Murray, Terry Henderson, Jabarie Hinds and Eron Harris were sent to the locker room for leaving the bench.
"As soon as you cross the line, you're out," Kilicli said. "A lot of guys didn't know. We shouldn't get into that."
The four WVU players shouldn't face any further disciplinary action, since they were ejected for leaving the bench and not for fighting. Marshall Coach Tom Herrion said he wasn't sure whether Goff would face further discipline for his ejection.
The scrum energized the 11,512 in attendance, but it couldn't spark Marshall (5-4) to close the gap.
The Herd couldn't get closer than seven points to WVU for the rest of the game.
It wasn't the 64 fouls of two seasons ago, but there was plenty of bumps and bruises Wednesday night. In the end, Marshall forward Elijah Pittman said, the Mountaineers fared better in those conditions.
"They were playing more physical and we were just fouling a lot," Pittman said. "Instead of playing solid defense, we were doing a lot of reaching, a lot of pulling and a lot of grabbing. They just capitalized on that."
WVU also capitalized on 17 Marshall turnovers, including 13 in the first half, and the Herd's dormant offense.