Terrell Miller: Murray State's inside threat came up with a monster game with 27 points and 17 rebounds.
After averaging 21 points per game in each of the past two seasons, Stark was held to only nine points on 1-for-12 shooting on Friday. The Mountaineers (25-10) pulled away in the second half and advanced to the round of 32 for the third time in the past four seasons as four players finished in double figures.
The Racers committed 16 turnovers, made 7-of-23 from 3-point range and shot 41 percent overall. The Racers now own the nation's longest winning streak at 13 games.
A victory by the Thundering Herd, who won the Conference USA tournament and earned an automatic bid to the postseason for the first time in 31 years, would set up a defacto "Friends of Coal" rematch between the Mountain State's two Division I programs - an event which has not happened since the 2015-16 campaign.
"We weren't frightful against the press", Murray State coach Matt McMahon said.
"You look at how they get what they get", Huggins said.
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The Bulldogs were led by a pair of sophomores as Sara Rhine scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds , and Becca HIttner added 19. Like Texas A&M had done all season, the Aggies relied on their strong front court of Tyler Davis and Robert Williams .
"He's a good dude", said Bolden, who teamed with Stark on last summer's tour of Spain. State had plenty of the latter, hitting nearly 38% of its threes and featuring five different players who are realistic threats to make multiple long range shots, but it's the former, and the rebounding that must follow, that has MSU's attention.
"Miller we kept telling our guys for whatever it's been, three or four days that he can shoot and that's what he does", Huggins said. Down by 14 early in the second half the Racers rallied, pulling within 49-44 on Shaq Buchanan's basket.
"Rotating to those guy, like if you're leaving a shooter you need to make sure the next guys are over there rotating to him so they don't get an open shot", freshman Teddy Allen said. But the surge by Murray State was fleeting. Ultimately, it was West Virginia's smothering defense that led to Murray State's undoing. Former Cameron standout, Logan Routt finished with seven points and four rebounds in 16 minutes of play.
The Mountaineers scored nine of the next 10 points.
Murray State never came with single digits during the rest of the game.
Murray State: The Racers will lament a first half where they were trailing from almost the outset. (0) controls the ball against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the second half in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Viejas Arena. Those wasted possessions allowed the Mountaineers to build a comfortable lead.
West Virginia is the five seed here in the East, Murray State is the 12. Teana Muldrow led the winners with 20 points and eight rebounds. These two seniors up here with me, Terrell Miller and Jonathan Stark can't say enough good things about them and what they've done for Murray State in Murray, Kentucky.