CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Capital Classic's showdown between two marquee point guards didn't disappoint.
West Virginia's Juwan Staten and Marshall's Kareem Canty put their respective teams on their backs Saturday night, and while both the Mountaineers' junior and the Thundering Herd's freshman played well, it was Staten's WVU team that surged past Marshall in the final minutes to win, 74-64.
The two entered the contest as just one of four players in Division I averaging at least 16.0 points and 6.5 assists. Yet Staten admitted he didn't know much about Canty before preparing for Saturday's game. Once he popped in the film on his adversary, he realized he had to get familiar fast.
"After watching film I learned quickly he could play," Staten said. "He was a great player. I love playing against great players because I feel like that brings the best out of me."
Canty eclipsed Staten in the assists department, recording nine to Staten's four, while committing just four turnovers to Staten's five. Canty also added three steals. But Staten outscored Canty 19-16. Staten shot 6-for-14 from the floor to Canty's 6-for-14 and made 7 of 10 free throws, while Canty made all three of his.
Both players said it was a competitive and feisty one-on-one match-up, but that didn't stop them from showing respect to each other when one got the upper hand.
"We were talking trash to each other, but we were congratulating each other on certain moves that we'd make," Canty said. "It was just really fun to play against each other like that."
In the game's final six minutes, when West Virginia made its run from four points down to 10 points ahead, Staten excelled while Canty faded. In that span, Staten scored six points with two assists and two rebounds. Canty scored two points with one assist.
"Every player that thinks highly of himself, that's that player's dream, to be in a tough game, playing against another tough player and have the team on your back," Staten said. "You can't ask for really more than that."
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Fourth-year Marshall Coach Tom Herrion fell to 1-3 in the Capital Classic, although the Herd did not trail for the first 36 minutes and 19 seconds.