Sportsline Preview of Wofford - West Virginia game

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Sportsline Preview of Wofford - West Virginia game

Postby BestOfBreed on Sun Nov 13, 2005 12:56 am

From CBS Sportsline ... ry/9040261

Nichols brothers square off as Mountaineers host Wofford

Nov. 12, 2005

This one is personal for West Virginia sophomore point guard Darris Nichols.

Nichols will face his brother, Shane, for the first time at the collegiate level when the 14th-ranked Mountaineers host Wofford in the second round of the Guardians Classic.

The Nichols brothers would have faced one another last season when the Mountaineers opened against St. Peter's, but Shane transferred to Wofford. Darris averaged just 3.0 points in 15 minutes off the bench a year ago for West Virginia (1-0).

Shane was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rookie of the year in 2003-04 after averaging 10.6 points before the Radford, Va., native transferred to play closer to home.

"Getting to play against him will be special," Darris said. "He shouldn't want me to win, and I don't want him to win."

The Mountaineers (1-0) opened the tournament with an 88-69 victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday. Ranked in the preseason poll for the first time in 43 years, West Virginia held off a second-half rally to improve to 4-0 in season openers under coach John Beilein.

"These teams know who they are playing," Mountaineers center Kevin Pittsnogle said. "So I think they play more aggressively. Teams know we are ranked and they want to knock us off. That's something different."

Mike Gansey led West Virginia with 22 points and 14 rebounds and Pittsnogle added 18 points. The Mountaineers led by as many as 17 in the first half and saw their lead cut to five before pulling away.

Last season, West Virginia came within one win of reaching its first Final Four since Jerry West played for the Mountaineers in 1959. The deep run in March created high expectations for a team returning four starters.

"Today, a couple people called our name," Gansey said. "That was strange."

Wofford (1-0) advanced by knocking off Fairleigh Dickinson 73-62 on Saturday. Eric Marshall scored 24 points and Shane Nichols came off the bench for 17 to make his debut with the Terriers a successful one.

Marshall and Shane Nichols each made 4-of-5 3-pointers as Wofford won a season opener for the first time since 1993. The Terriers won despite being outrebounded, 44-36.

West Virginia has won both previous meetings with Wofford, including a 79-69 victory on Dec. 14, 2002.

"They came in here our first year and had us on the ropes and we ended up winning a close game," Beilein said. "They've got a lot of shooters just like (Louisiana-Monroe) and it's tough to defend them."

The second-round winner will advance to the semifinals at Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 21.
The Associated Press News Service
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