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Herd downs Arkansas State in season debut

By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON – Marshall got it going on both ends of the floor in the final ten minutes of its season opener, sparking the Thundering Herd past Arkansas State, 70-56, Friday afternoon.

Marshall, which had Wednesday’s scheduled opener against Coppin State canceled due to Coronavirus issues for Coppin State, led 42-39 with 10:39 left in the contest at the Cam Henderson Center.

Taevion Kinsey started the second half run for Marshall with two free throws with 9:54 left. Defensive pressure and several ally-oop layups off the turnovers got the Herd off from that point to the runaway.

“The defense was really good,” Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni said of the post-game radio show on the Herd Network. “The one spurt on offense is what we’re capable of. Got to go get some motor oil. Our offensive machine is not greased up yet.”

Kinsey led Marshall with 17 points and seven rebounds. He missed much of the first half after taking a bump on the head when he collided with Arkansas State’s Christian Willis early in the first half.

“It hurt so bad,” Kinsey said in the post-game zoom interview. “I thought, ‘why me?’ Then I changed my attitude. I tried to get them to hurry up and fix me up. It’s a pretty ugly cut.”

Kinsey finished the game with a bandage over the left eye.

Darius George came off the bench to hit for 15 points. He converted all six of his shots from the floor. West added nine points, eight assists and five steals to move within one of the all-time steals record held by Skip Henderson.

“West’s been that way since he’s been here,” D’Antoni said of his senior standout. “He’s a winner in everything he does.”

George did most of his damage in the second half when the Herd’s defense forced Arkansas State into turnovers and converted the errors into easy points.

“He’s really athletic,” D’Antoni said of George “He can handle the quickness on the wings. They didn’t have the quickness on the lobs.”

Marshall also had 10 blocked shots. Jannson Williams and Obinna Anochili-Killen, a freshman, led the way with three each.

Marquis Eaton led the Red Wolves with 13 points and Caleb Fields added 12. The Sun Belt Conference member converted just  11-of-23 free throws. The visitors had just four players back from a 16-16 season a year ago.

Arkansas State was a sub opponent for the Herd after Coppin State and Tennessee State did not play due to COVID-19 issues. The Red Wolves did work on scheduling while here, securing a Sunday afternoon game against Morehead State in Morehead, Ky.

Marshall’s next game is Dec.  4 at Wright State in Dayton, Ohio. That game has been pushed back a day so Wright State can get over its COVID-19 issues and practice.

“We adjusted pretty well,” Kinsey said.

“Not a bad opener,” D’Antoni said. “They had two tough penetrating guards. We handled it.”

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Three Guy Before The Game – Mower Champions (Episode 247)

Mission accomplished for the Mountaineer basketball team.

WVU returns from South Dakota with the championship trophy from the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic.

The Mountaineers rallied from a 10 point deficit in the second half to secure the win.  On this episode, the “Guys” give their take on the good and bad with WVU through its first three games.

They also answer listener questions and calls.

Join them Monday when they return with an early look at a week that includes a basketball game with top-rated Gonzaga and a football game against Big 12 champion Iowa State.

Three Guys Before The Game is brought to you by Mardis Gras Casino and Resort, Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and Burdette Camping Center. Look nifty by wearing Three Guys merchandise.

Never miss an episode, subscribe below.

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Second half surge lifts WVU past Western Kentucky in Crossover Classic final

(WVU postgame Zoom conference)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A 23-5 second half burst helped West Virginia erase a 10-point deficit and led the Mountaineers to a 70-64 win over Western Kentucky in the Crossover Classic Championship game in Sioux Falls, S.D.

WVU trailed 45-35 at the 15:40 mark in the second half before the Mountaineers scored 18 of the game’s next 20 points.

“I think we took some things for granted,” said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. “They played so much harder than we did. They executed better than we did. We talked at halftime about how much harder we had to play and how much better we have to execute what we are doing.”

“We came in here with a plan to come back with a trophy,” Derek Culver said. “Me and my teammates and the coaching staff, we put our hands together and we focused. We had rough patches during the tournament but we came together and were resilient. We ended up getting the job done.”

Neither team led by more than 5 points in the first half. West Virginia took their biggest lead of the half with 10:30 to go on a Taz Sherman bucket, giving WVU an 18-13 cushion. The Hilltoppers answered with a 12-4 run, giving them a 25-22 lead. Western held the lead for the final three minutes of the first half and they took a 36-33 lead going into the locker room.

“They came out with more intensity and more energy,” said Deuce McBride. “But at halftime coach told us we have to stick to our culture. What we do as a team is we play harder and longer. It is a 40-minute game.”

SIOUX FALLS, SD – NOVEMBER 27: Derek Culver #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drives  (Photo by Richard Carlson/Inertia)

Culver led the Mountaineers in scoring for the second consecutive game. He scored 15 points and was one of three WVU players in double digits. Culver earned tournament MVP honors. He scored 45 points and pulled down 30 rebounds.  McBride netted 14 while Taz Sherman added 12. McBride and Gabe Osabuohien also were named to the all-tournament team. Osabuohien chipped in with 8 points and 8 rebounds in the final.

“Gabe is the guy who is helping the younger guys out on the floor the most,” Huggins said.

Guess who balled out this week? pic.twitter.com/V6AgVITvlN

— Erik Martin (@CoachEMartinWVU) November 27, 2020

West Virginia’s bench outscored the Hilltoppers bench 20-12 but WKU outscored WVU 44-24 in the paint.

Poca High School graduate Luke Frampton scored 6 points for the Hilltoppers. He scored 23 in the 3-game tournament. NBA prospect Charles Bassey led Western Kentucky with 15 points.

Luke Frampton #14 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers drives baseline (Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia)

WVU has now won six in-season tournament titles under Huggins.

“Obviously with playing three games, so you are getting ready to play games and people you haven’t seen while trying to do that in one day. They are plenty of things to do. I thought the bubble was terrific.”

The Mountaineers (3-0) will return to action Wednesday against No. 1 Gonzaga at the Jimmy V Classic in Indianapolis. This game replaces the originally scheduled home opener against Youngstown State.

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Brown disappointed in OU postponement, recognizes bigger picture

(Neal Brown MetroNews Talkline interview)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For nearly three months, the WVU football team has gone through the season with relatively few impacts due to COVID. That run of good fortune aided by good preparation came to an end Wednesday through no fault of their own.

Saturday’s scheduled matchup between the Mountaineers and Oklahoma has been postponed to December 12 due to positive cases within the OU program. The Sooners have paused team activities.

“We’ve got a whole building full of people who wish we had a game this weekend,” said WVU head coach Neal Brown.

“There has been so much chaos since March, this is just another piece to it. I am disappointed for a lot of different reasons. We have to be willing to change and adjust. I feel like our staff and our players have done a pretty good job with that going back to March. This is just another obstacle we have to overcome.”

During the season, only one Mountaineer player has tested positive for COVID. Brown says the weekly rounds of testing still provide anxious moments.

“We test Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. And every time we test until I get the results, I am always nervous. I am not surprised, I am not shocked that we had a game postponed. I thought it was probably a matter of time. I have been extremely appreciative of how our players and our staff have handled all of the COVID requirements, procedures and protocols.

“But I know it is not something we are going to continue to defeat. It is real. It is growing, cases are growing here in West Virginia and nationally. We are trying to do all the right things but at some point, we were going to experience some difficulty. This time it was out of our control.”

Brown says his team was understandably disappointed with the postponement coming off a bye week which followed a 24-6 win over TCU.

“It is hard to rationalize when you are talking to a group of 17-to-23 year olds to say something you really worked hard for is postponed. And oh by the way, it had nothing to do with you.

“We are fortunate we have gotten to this point where we have played eight football games. But I am not shocked or surprised we have had one postponed this year.”

As a result of the postponement, WVU players will have their scheduled break after the Iowa State game and before a potential bowl game altered.

“Most of our guys have been here since the middle of June and haven’t been able to go home. That’s tough. There was a little bit of light coming at the end of the tunnel. With our schedule, we were going to play tomorrow night and then December 5th. And then they knew we were going to have a break where they knew they were going to go home for a few days. Not only are they disappointed about the game being postponed, now their opportunity to go home is being postponed.”

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Amjad: Surge continues, 866 COVID-19 cases added Friday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Health and Human Resources reported a slight dip in COVID-19 numbers Friday following a slight slowdown in testing events because of Thanksgiving.

The state confirmed 866 additional COVID-19 cases after numbers posted on Thanksgiving Day topped 1,100 new cases. There were no deaths reported Friday, but there were 17 reported Thursday.

The daily positivity test rate fell to 3.89% Friday and hospitalizations also showed a slight decrease to 528 patients. There are 15,326 active cases in West Virginia.

State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health Dr. @AyneAmjad speaks with @HoppyKercheval about new covid numbers and safety precautions throughout the Holidays in WV and vaccines on the horizon. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIRZCB pic.twitter.com/RFkcYnBTmQ

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) November 27, 2020

State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad said Friday on MetroNews “Talkline” that the surge of cases continues in West Virginia.

“That’s why we are reminding everyone to stay vigilant, to wear masks and follow all of the mitigation efforts,” she said.

Members of Gov. Jim Justice’s coronavirus task force met Friday morning with the West Virginia Hospital Association to review capacity. Amjad said there remains room for additional patients.

“They did give us all of their numbers. So far we’re doing okay but there’s always a concern especially what’s happening across the country,” Amjad said.

Amjad and others are urging state residents to avoid large gatherings through the rest of the holiday weekend.

“I believe we will see a surge after Thanksgiving. We saw a surge after Halloween,” Amjad said.

Deaths confirmed Thursday included a 79-year old male from Berkeley County, a 50-year old male from Mason County, an 89-year old female from Jefferson County, a 69-year old male from Cabell County, an 86-year old female from Kanawha County, a 74-year old female from Putnam County, a 75-year old male from Taylor County, an 85-year old female from Marshall County, a 57-year old male from Raleigh County, an 81-year old female from Mineral County, a 47-year old female from Wyoming County, a 70-year old male from Marshall County, a 98-year old male from Cabell County, a 69-year old male from Preston County, a 57-year old male from Jackson County, an 85-year old female from Cabell County, and a 68-year old male from Doddridge County.

.@WV_DHHR reports as of 10:00 a.m., November 27, 2020, there have been 1,095,837 total confirmatory laboratory results received for #COVID19, with 45,046 total cases and 712 deaths. https://t.co/ii3LDWTkiH pic.twitter.com/7wWKaOyvlk

— WV Department of Health & Human Resources • 😷 (@WV_DHHR) November 27, 2020

Overall confirmed cases include: Barbour (390), Berkeley (3,030), Boone (625), Braxton (109), Brooke (611), Cabell (2,787), Calhoun (71), Clay (107), Doddridge (118), Fayette (1,111), Gilmer (200), Grant (332), Greenbrier (462), Hampshire (306), Hancock (640), Hardy (250), Harrison (1,279), Jackson (691), Jefferson (1,297), Kanawha (5,531), Lewis (237), Lincoln (410), Logan (1,031), Marion (827), Marshall (1,137), Mason (426), McDowell (613), Mercer (1,307), Mineral (1,170), Mingo (975), Monongalia (3,253), Monroe (365), Morgan (263), Nicholas (323), Ohio (1,472), Pendleton (103), Pleasants (87), Pocahontas (152), Preston (552), Putnam (1,884), Raleigh (1,513), Randolph (679), Ritchie (156), Roane (164), Summers (268), Taylor (320), Tucker (132), Tyler (135), Upshur (477), Wayne (980), Webster (62), Wetzel (393), Wirt (101), Wood (2,432), Wyoming (700).

Upcoming free COVID-19 testing events:

November 27, 2020

Cabell County

9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Cabell-Huntington Health Department, 703 Seventh Avenue, Huntington, WV

November 28, 2020

Jackson County

9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Jackson County Health Department, 504 Church Street South, Ripley, WV

November 30, 2020

Berkeley County

12:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Martinsburg High School, 701 South Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV
4:30 PM – 8:00 PM, Dorothy McCormack Building, 2000 Foundation Way, Martinsburg, WV

Boone County

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Boone County Health Department, 213 Kenmore Drive, Danville, WV

Hampshire County

1:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Hampshire High School, 157 Trojan Way, Romney, WV

Jefferson County

9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Jefferson County Health Department, Front Parking Lot, 1948 Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville, WV
2:30 PM – 6:30 PM, Shepherd University, Parking Lot beside Wellness Center, 164 University Drive, Shepherdstown, WV

Marshall County

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Marshall County Health Department, 513 6th Street, Moundsville, WV

Ohio County

11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Valley Grove Volunteer Fire Department, 355 Fire House Lane, Valley Grove, WV
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Warwood Fire Station 9, 1301 Richland Avenue, Wheeling, WV
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Wheeling Island Fire Station 5, 11 North Wabash Street, Wheeling, WV

Wirt County

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, Wirt County Office, 90 Senior Circle, Elizabeth, WV (pre-registration: https://www.ipsumcovidresults.com/)
Wood County

12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Mineral Wells Elementary School, 1776 Elizabeth Pike, Mineral Wells, WV (pre-registration: https://www.ipsumcovidresults.com/)
Wyoming County

11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Old Board of Education, 19 Park Street, Pineville, WV

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Super Six moved to UC Stadium in Charleston

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For the first time in 27 years, the WVSSAC high school football championship games will not be hosted by Wheeling Island Stadium. Due to Ohio County remaining in the orange category on the state COVID metrics map, the Super Six games have been moved to University of Charleston Stadium.

With Ohio County remaining in the ‘high risk’ category on the map for almost three weeks, WVSSAC officials sought alternate sites to host the championship games.

The championship game schedules will remain the same. The Class AA final will be Friday, December 4 at 7 p.m. The AAA final will be played Saturday, December 5 at noon and the Class A final will conclude the event at 7 p.m.

However, there is a strong possibility than not all of the championship games will actually be played. Based on the Saturday, November 27 5 p.m. map release, Ritchie County may not be able to compete. The Rebels have qualified for the Class A final but Ritchie County has been orange on the map for the last week. If Ritchie is not able to play, the winner of Saturday’s semifinal between Pendleton County and St. Marys will be declared the Class A state champion.

.@FredPersinger, MetroNews Networks-Host of GAMENIGHT speaks with @HoppyKercheval about the high school football playoffs and who will be able to paly. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIRZCB pic.twitter.com/Fooa6vQkdM

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) November 27, 2020

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Several Charleston police officers have COVID-19

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Eight Charleston police officers are currently off work after testing positive recently for COVID-19.

Amy Shuler Goodwin

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin and Police Chief Tyke Hunt announced the development Friday morning.

“These officers are currently recovering at home with mild symptoms,” Goodwin said. “We continue to work with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department on contact tracing to minimize the spread of this disease.”

Hunt said all department operations would continue to function normally.

“Our officers are working diligently to keep folks safe while also following Kanawha-Charleston Health Department guidelines,” Hunt said.

Charleston Police Chief James “Tyke” Hunt

Goodwin is asking residents to continue to follow recommended guidelines for mask wearing and social distancing.

“The Charleston Police Department has not stopped working for one minute during this
pandemic in their mission to keep our citizens safe,” Goodwin said. “They must train
and work hard every day to keep you safe, and we ask that all residents do whatever they can to assist in slowing the spread of this disease to help protect all our first responders and frontline workers.”

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Search underway following fatal hit-and-run in McDowell County

BRADSHAW, W.Va. — Authorities in McDowell County said a two-year-old child who was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Thanksgiving evening has died.

The collision occurred in the Three Forks area of McDowell County near Bradshaw.

The McDowell Sheriff’s Department is looking for an older model silver SUV with possible front-end damage. The driver was headed toward Buchanan County, Virginia at the time of the collision.

Investigators are seeking the public’s help.

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Saturday rally to focus on freedom, unity

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Organizers of a rally and protest scheduled for Saturday at the state capitol say the event is about freedom and unity.

Shaun Adkins, an organizer of the Mountain Freedom Rally and Protest of Big Government Overreach event set for noon Saturday, said pandemic-related mandates from governors and other government officials have entered dangerous territory.

“We are absolutely headed down a slippery slope,” Adkins said during an appearance Friday on WCHS Radio’s 580-Live show. “What has the government ever taken away that they’ve given back?”

Adkins said it’s more than just the mask mandate. He said other steps taken not only in West Virginia but across the country have eroded personal freedoms. Adkins said many of the decisions have been based on fear not facts.

“If our freedoms only reach as far as our fear begins then we really don’t have freedoms, we have permission,” Adkins said. “Are you willing to give up your freedom for someone else’s fear.”

The rally is set to take place first followed by a protest that will take place at a yet-to-be revealed location.

“We’re going to go to a certain specified location, which will be named at the rally, and we will basically sing Christmas carols at that location,” Adkins said.

Adkins said he and others just want to be able to live their lives and not “under the thumb” of government.

“We are basically protesting freedoms being trampled on by government entities,” he said.

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WVU faces Western Kentucky in the Crossover Classic final

— Story by Taylor Kennedy

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia looks to capture its third in-season tournament title in four years. The Mountaineers will face off against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Tip-off is set for 1:30pm, and you can watch it on ESPN.

West Virginia is coming off a 12-point victory over VCU Thursday afternoon. Junior Derek Culver shined with 23 points and 15 rebounds. It was the second time Culver recorded 20-plus points and 15-plus rebounds in a single game. The first time he did this came in his freshman year against TCU. He recorded 22 points and 21 rebounds. 

Sean McNeil tied his career-high with 16 points against VCU. He recorded his career-high the night before against South Dakota State. The Mountaineers’ starting five combined for 66 of the team’s 78 total points.

Western Kentucky is coming off an impressive 75-69 win over the Memphis Tigers. The Hilltoppers were led by Naismith Award Watch List member Charles Bassey. Bassey had his way against the Tigers recording 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 blocks.

This will be the third time that Rick Stansbury has faced off against West Virginia. Before coaching Western Kentucky, Stansbury spent 14 years at Mississippi State. Stansbury was the coach when former Mountaineer Darris Nichols hit the game-winning three-pointer in the 2007 NIT Championship game. Stansbury is 2-1 all-time against the old gold and blue.

West Virginia Connection

It seems wherever you go or whatever you watch you will find someone having connections to West Virginia. In this afternoon’s game, former Poca Dot Luke Frampton will compete against his home state’s university.

Luke Frampton #14 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers drives around Nate Heise #0 of the Northern Iowa Panthers. (Photo by Richard Carlson/Inertia)

Frampton transferred to WKU during the summer of 2020, and he was granted immediate eligibility. Frampton started his collegiate career with the Davidson Wildcats. He started in all 39 games he appeared at Davidson, including 34 as a redshirt freshman. As a redshirt freshman, he was the second Davidson player to hit 100 three-pointers in a single-season.

At Poca, Frampton was a three-time all-conference player. He helped lead the Dots to an undefeated season and the school’s second state title in 2015.

Series History

This afternoon’s matchup will be the fifth all-time meeting between these two programs. Western Kentucky has won the last two games against West Virginia. The series is tied 2-2.

The last meeting came back in 2018 in the semifinals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The Hilltoppers defeated the WVU 63-57. Three of the top four scorers from that WKU team are back on this year’s team. Taveion Hollingswort, Charles Bassey, and Josh Anderson combined for 38 of WKU’s 63 points. Jordan McCabe is the only player on this year’s roster that played against the Hilltoppers back in 2018.

The other three matchups came in 1987, 1959, and 1942. The average win total between these two programs is three points.

Players to Watch

WVU – Junior Sean McNeil has had a hot start to this young season. In the first two games of the 2020 season, McNeil has produced back-to-back games of double-digit scoring. The Union, Kentucky native posted career nights in scoring tallying 16 points in consecutive nights.

McNeil scored 10 or more points six times last year, but none were consecutive double-digit performances. McNeil finished tied for first on the team in three-point percentage shooting 33% last season.

Western Kentucky – Charles Bassey has played well in the Hilltoppers first two games. Bassey’s seven blocks against Memphis were the most by a Western Kentucky player since 2011. He also became the 19th player in Division 1 since 2010 to record 21 points, 14 rebounds, and seven blocks.

Bassey was recognized on the Conference USA preseason men’s team, and he was listed on the watch list for the Naismith Trophy College National Player of the Year award. Bassey suffered a season-ending leg injury last season. He started in the first 10 WKU games last season.

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