CHARLESTON-The Friends of Coal Bowl may have become a thing in the past, but that doesn't mean instate rivals West Virginia University and Marshall University won't face each other in athletics during the 2013-14 season.
Both schools' basketball teams will once again take to the court at the Charleston Civic Center today in the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic. The women's contest is slated to begin at 1 p.m. with the men to follow at 7:30.
WVU's men holds the overall edge in their series with the Thundering Herd (30-11) and have won the last two contests while the Mountaineer women are 36-16 overall in their matchup with the team from Huntington and are currently enjoying an eight-game winning streak.
The men's contest features a pair of squads both looking to snap losing streaks.
West Virginia (6-4, 0-0 Big 12) is coming off of an 80-76 setback to No. 20 Gonzaga, a game in which the old gold and blue held a 10-point lead until a late 13-0 run by the visitors sent the Mountaineers to their second loss in a row and third in their last four games.
Marshall (4-5, 0-0 C-USA) hasn't tasted victory since a 96-78 decision over UNC-Wilmington in Huntington. The Herd's top scorer, Elijah Pittman, has been suspended indefinitely.
- The basketball teams will take to the court at the Charleston Civic Center today in the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic. The women's contest is slated to begin at 1 p.m. with the men to follow at 7:30.
That doens't mean, however, tonight's 42nd meeting won't have the intensity of the others.
Eron Harris, who tallied a game-high 23 points against Gonzaga, is the Mountaineers' leading scorer, averaging 19.3 points per game. Other double digit scorers are Juwan Staten (16.4) and Terry Henderson (10.2). The remainder of the starting lineup will come from Devin Williams (9.7), Remi Dibo (9.5), Gary Browne (7.7), Morgantown native Nathan Adrian (5.7) or Kevin Noreen (3.0).
Marshall's leading scorer-with Pittman's availability still in question-is Karem Canty, who averages 18.3 points per game. He is joined in double figures by Chris Thomas (11.4) and Ryan Taylor (11.4). The rest of the starting five will come from Shawn Smith (7.3), TyQuane Goard (5.8), Tamron Manning (4.7), Cheikh Sane (3.1) or DeVince Boykins (2.1).
The Herd is coming off of a 90-77 loss at Penn State and has dropped five of its last seven games after a 2-0 start.
WVU's women (7-1, 0-0 Big 12) are on a seven game winning streak after knocking off Fairleigh Dickinson (94-47) at the Coliseum. Christal Caldwell leads four Mountaineers scoring in double figures with a 15.5 points per game average. Bria Holmes (13.0), Taylor Palmer (12.8) and Asya Bussie (12.6) round out that quartet of players.
Averee Fields (5.8) or Linda Stepney (4.8) also will start for WVU.
Conversely, the Thundering Herd (2-4, 0-0 C-USA) will be looking for its first two-game winning streak of the season after knocking off WVU-Tech by an 86-42 score in Huntington.
Leah Scott leads the way in scoring with a 12.5 points per game norm, but is the only player averaging in double-digits for the green and white. The remainder of the starting five will come from A.J. Johnson (8.0), Chukwuka Ezeigbo (7.8), Suporia Dickens (7.7), Erica Woods (5.7), McKenzie Akers (5.5), Norrisha Victrum (4.0) or Orlandria Williams (2.0).
The series was first played in 1929 (1974 for the women), but the two teams did not begin playing annually until 1978. The series moved to Charleston in 1992 to coincide with the regular session of the state legislature.
Marshall and WVU have a shorter history on the women's side, but a similar one to the men. The two teams first played in 1974 and would play two or three times a year at alternating locations. The series was moved to Charleston in 1992 and has remainded there since.