Boom! Boom! Boom! The dynamite loosens and cracks the walls. Then the picks start pounding away, tearing those walls down.
Randy Culpepper didn't spare the dynamite in Huntington, West Virginia Tuesday night. Then, the big men got to it. But, the Miners found the going to be tough for the first half of the game. When Derrick Caracter picked up two fouls, early in the first period, Big Claude Britten picked up his maul, and his pick. At 6' 11" and 275, he made his presence known. In eleven minutes, he pulled down 3 rebounds and scored 8 points. In a half where only 29 points were scored by the Miners, and 36 by the Herd, those may have been the most important 8 points scored by a Miner, this season. With time running out in the first half, and the Miners down by ten points in a low scoring first half, Randy Culpepper lit the fuse on one of those sticks of dynamite, hitting a three pointer from way beyond the arc, that shook the ground in Huntington.
The Miners got some air, sharpened their tools, and went back to work for the second half with renewed strength, and determination. Culpepper grabbed a full case of dynamite, and blew things wide open, lighting stick after stick of dynamite, blasting away at the Herd's defense with 5 three pointers, one of his tomahawk jams, and 20 second half points. Culpepper's explosiveness began loosening the walls, and when "Big Claude" Britten, and Derrick "The Giant Mohegan" Caracter started picking and pounding, they started to force their way through. Caracter looked more like a machine than a man, and poured in 16 second half points. Big Claude added another 6 points.
The Miners started to look like they were going to have an easy time of it. With 11:24 left Culpepper soared to the basket for one of his tomahawk jams, to give the Miners a 10 point lead. But, Marshall was not ready to pack it in, and whittled away until they had a four point lead at 72-68, with 4 minutes left. A Caracter layup, a Herd turnover, and another layup by Jeremy Williams tied it up at 72. Two more layups, one by the Herd's Whiteside, and another by Williams, and with a minute and five seconds left the score was still even. Derrick Caracter missed a layup, but tipped in the rebound to give the Miners the lead. Tyler Wilkerson tied the game back up, with two free throws. With 36 seconds left, Derrick Caracter dropped the ball through the hoop to take the lead for the Miners for the last time. Wilkerson missed a jumper with 12 seconds left that would have tied the game.
After 2 made free throws by Culpepper, the clock came to a stop, and the Miners had won the C-USA regular season title. The work crew picked up their tools, and readied for the long ride back to the surface. They are expected to arrive in El Paso, around 12:30 today.