The Herd tried another alley-oop that Brown stole and freshman Jabarie Hinds made a dazzling dribble drive and a layup to tie the score. After trading turnovers, Pitts made a 3.
"We got that lead and we tried a couple of alley-oops and didn't score and that happens, but the big thing was we didn't get stops," Pitts said. "We let them rebound off a missed free throw and then we couldn't get stops."
The Mountaineers worked the shot clock and Jones missed everything on a long 3 with 5.6 seconds left in the half, but Marshall threw the ball away on the inbound pass without anyone touching the ball. The clock didn't start and Huggins took out Rutledge, Brown and Gary Browne - all first-year players - for Truck Bryant, Keaton Miles and Kevin Noreen - starters.
"The guys I put back in I put back in because they know what they're doing," Huggins said. "I wanted to get a good shot. You can't get a better shot than what we got."
WVU started with the ball under its basket and ran a play on the right side with Bryant setting a screen for Miles, who flashed into the corner. There was nothing there, so Miles set a screen for Bryant and Hinds passed the ball into him. The clock started and a defender ran out at Bryant.
"I knew he going to jump," Bryant said. "That's what everyone does to me. I did the head fake and took my time and made it."
The score was tied and Bryant, who had started 0-for-5 and 1-for-8, had a little bounce as he ran to the locker room. He scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half, where the Mountaineers outscored Marshall 48-22 and made 16 of 26 shots.
"That was a key, not only for the team and for the coaching staff, but for me," Bryant said. "It was a huge momentum swing."
WVU's defense harassed Marshall into 40 percent shooting and just 3 makes in 11 3-point attempts after halftime. The lead grew to be as large as 19 points and was never below 10 points in the final 6:49.
The Herd's frustrations grew. Dennis Tinnon lost a defensive rebound out of bounds when he was surrounded by teammates and then spiked the ball off the ground. Hinds made a jumper at the end of that four-shot, 91-second possession, a key part of a 10-2 run that turned a one-point game into a nine-point WVU lead with 11:28 to go.
Later, Kane, who left the game briefly with a left ankle injury, promptly earned a technical foul after he returned.
"We played defense in the second half," Browne said. "They're talented, but they don't have the mental toughness that we have out there all week in practice and in the game every time we come out and play. All we have to do is run our stuff. We can't let other people make us do what they want us to do."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.