CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia figured the best way to deflate Marshall was to go hard after the basketball following missed shots.
Kevin Jones scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half to lead West Virginia to a 78-62 win over intrastate rival Marshall on Wednesday night.
West Virginia (14-5) beat Marshall for the fifth time in six meetings. It marked West Virginia's biggest margin of victory since the annual series moved to Charleston in 1992.
Marshall (13-5) entered the game as the nation's third-best rebounding team at 42.9 per game and the best in rebounding margin at 11 per contest. But West Virginia controlled the paint and earned a 37-27 rebounding advantage.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said he focused on blocking-out drills during practice this week and used a traditional motivational tactic on his players.
"I told the team, 'don't make me put you on the treadmill,'" Huggins said. "'You better have your behind on somebody because I don't want to run you that much.'"
His players listened. Five Mountaineers had at least five rebounds.
"It was just good old-fashioned boxing out and we made sure that we kept them on our backs," Jones said. "The only way they could get rebounds was to go over our backs."
West Virginia's rebounding advantage was impressive considering that Mountaineers center Deniz Kilicli sat out the game with a boot on his right ankle that he injured in practice earlier this week.
"They took it to us from a physicality standpoint around the basket and on the glass," said Marshall coach Tom Herrion. "They beat us to every 50-50 ball, and that was discouraging and disappointing, but give them credit. I thought they were quicker, faster, stronger and aggressive to the ball. We didn't find a body to block out."
Redshirt freshman Kevin Noreen got his first career start in Kilicli's place and surpassed his season scoring average when he scored two early baskets. Noreen wasn't much of a factor the rest of the game, but he didn't need to be.
Jones and Darryl "Truck" Bryant took over in the second half, when the Mountaineers shot 61.5 percent (16 of 26) from the floor. Bryant finished with 22 points.
Marshall saw its four-game winning streak snapped. DeAndre Kane led the Thundering Herd with 19 points and Damier Pitts added 15.
The Mountaineers came out of a halftime tie with a pair of dominant runs in the second half to pull away.
The lead changed five times early in the second half, then Marshall fell flat, going nearly six minutes between field goals and getting few second chances for baskets. West Virginia freshman Jabarie Hinds made a pair of field goals following Marshall turnovers and West Virginia broke open a tight game with a 10-0 run for a 46-37 lead with 11:27 remaining.
Marshall got no closer than seven points the rest of the game.
"I didn't think that we responded very well coming out after halftime," Herrion said. "We weren't able to get into a flow offensively."
West Virginia kept up the intensity, getting 10 points from Jones in a four-minute stretch and using a 12-2 run to jump ahead 64-47 with 3:54 left.
Hinds and Gary Browne added 10 points apiece for West Virginia, which returns to Big East play at home Saturday against Cincinnati.
Marshall, which is alone in first place in Conference USA, plays at Southern Miss on Saturday.