CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When the University of Charleston hosted Shepherd for a men's basketball game Thursday night, it had the makings of a close game in which the winner took sole possession of second place in the Mountain East Conference.
UC had other ideas.
The red-hot Golden Eagles put on a show and won their eighth consecutive game by routing Shepherd 83-64 at Eddie King Gym in front of a crowd of 389.
With the victory, UC improves to 13-4 overall and 10-3 in the MEC, moving the Golden Eagles into second place. Shepherd falls to 14-5 overall and 9-4 in league play.
"It is really great," said UC senior Xavier Humphrey, who led the Golden Eagles with 22 points. "We are at eight right now and going for nine on Saturday. We got a big win, are in second place, and want to keep it going. Our confidence is off the roof right now."
With West Liberty's shocking home loss to Notre Dame, which snapped the Hilltoppers' 60-game home winning streak, UC is only two games out of first place. UC plays at West Liberty on Saturday with a golden opportunity to make a push for the MEC regular season crown.
Shepherd scored the first basket of the game but it was all UC after that, going on a 19-0 run to take command, and the Golden Eagles never looked back.
"I really didn't know that," UC coach Dwaine Osborne said.
"I am trying to take it one possession at a time. I knew it was a good one but I didn't know it was 19-0. I think that was a result of our focus level. Our guys were really locked in and did a great job."
UC athletic director Bren Stevens removed the student seats in an effort to give the section a more electric atmosphere, and the Golden Eagles players certainly did their part.