MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In the first round of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic, West Virginia defeated Elon 87-68, behind Taz Sherman’s career-high 27 points.
Sherman shot 9-of-17 from the field. The fifth-year senior also had five assists and two rebounds.
With this win, WVU head coach Bob Huggins moves to fourth on the all-time NCAA coaching wins list. Huggins is at win No. 903, passing Bobby Knight and tying Roy Williams.
Starting guard Keddy Johnson set the tone for the Mountaineers in the beginning stages of the first half. In the very first play of the game, Johnson forced Elon to turn the ball over and went right down the floor, hitting a three.
Johnson finished the night with two steals, and the Mountaineers had 16 forced turnovers as a team on Thursday night. WVU scored 26 points off of those turnovers.
WVU started 3-of-3 from three, with the help of Johnson, Sherman, and Jalen Bridges.
Elon countered the early West Virginia threes with threes of their own. The Phoenix, who are 14th in the country in averaged threes made per game, started 4-of-5 from outside.
For the rest of the first half, both teams went on big runs. WVU went on a 14-2 run mid-way through the half, while Elon ended the first half on a 17-9 scoring push.
At the end of the half, WVU’s Malik Curry and Elon’s Jerald Gillens-Butler were both charged with technical fouls for chirping at each other while heading to the locker room.
West Virginia headed into the break with a 44-37 lead.
Out of the break, WVU’s defense was still alive and annoying for Elon. The Mountaineers forced three early turnovers by the Phoenix during their 12-4 run to begin the second half.
Then, Sherman, McNeil, and Cottrell took over on offense, making it too much for Elon’s offense to counter, as the Mountaineers cruised to a first round victory, 87-68.
As a team, West Virginia shot 52 percent from the field, 38 percent from three, and 75 percent from the free throw line.
Other than Sherman, notable scorers were McNeil with 16 points, Keddy Johnson with nine, and Cottrell with nine.
Of note as well: freshman Kobe Johnson recorded 22 minutes against Elon, the majority of which came in the second half. Johnson finished with two points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block.
West Virginia will tip-off against Marquette in the second round of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic on Friday night, at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
#WVU and Elon will tip-off 20 minutes following the conclusion of the Ole Miss/Marquette game.
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— Ethan Bock (@ethanbock_) November 19, 2021
(Top Photo: Julia Mellett / WVSN)