A tense rivalry game between Marshall and West Virginia was only 97 seconds from the final buzzer Wednesday night when hostilities finally boiled over.
Deniz Kilicli had just scored a basket to give the Mountaineers a seven-point lead when West Virginia's Juwan Staten and Marshall's Robert Goff got tangled up on the floor beneath the basket. As Staten went to get up and run back down court, Goff delivered what appears to be an intentional kick to the groin, igniting tempers on both side and sending referees to the courtside monitor to figure out what happened.
Goff received a flagrant technical and was ejected, while fellow Marshall big man Nigel Spikes was assessed a technical that happened to be his fifth foul of the night. West Virginia guard Gary Brown got a technical for jawing with Goff and four other Mountaineers were ejected for wandering off the bench toward the center-court fracas.
It's unfortunate Goff allowed his frustration to get the best of him, but credit players on both sides for not throwing any punches or allowing the situation to become Xavier-Cincinnati 2.0. The game finished without incident after that with West Virginia holding on for a 69-59 victory.
Once the game was over and West Virginia had beaten its intrastate rival for the sixth time in seven meetings, Kilicli explained the chippy nature of the rivalry by taking a not-so-subtle dig at the Marshall program.
"They are the guys who want to be in our spot," he told MetroNews. "We are West Virginia — we are the state's team. We have proven it over and over again. We are the ones playing the big-time schedule. We've got higher recruits.
"We can't get into all that pushing, shoving and talking trash. We can't get into that."