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Harler’s play on both ends a big lift in win over Buckeyes

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Miles McBride was unquestionably the best offensive player for No. 22 West Virginia in Sunday’s 67-59 win over No. 2 Ohio State.

Several Mountaineers thought Gabe Osabuohien impacted the game as much as anybody on either side.

While WVU’s statement win at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse required contributions from all throughout the roster, those provided from senior guard Chase Harler certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

Harler made the most of his 24 minutes off the bench by scoring a season-high 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

“To be out there and making an impact is a great feeling,” Harler said.

Harler scored five points in each half, including a 3-pointer that gave West Virginia a 20-18 lead in the opening half.

The senior made an even bigger triple in the second half, connecting from behind the arc to give the Mountaineers a 49-47 advantage with 9:22 remaining.

“We need him to step up and make plays and that’s what he does,” McBride said. 

While Harler’s scoring was a big lift in the Mountaineers’ best win of the season, so too was his defense.

Ohio State was 5-of-24 in the second half, and after making six of their first eight field goals, the Buckeyes were 9-of-40 the rest of the way.

“You can’t hardly measure what he means to us, because he knows everything,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said of Harler. “He did a great job of coaching on the floor and he made open shots. He may be our best on the ball defender. I’ve been elated with what he’s given us.”

Harler entered the matchup with the Buckeyes averaging four points and shooting 46 percent from the field, but had made only 6-of-19 tries from 3. On Sunday, he connected on half of his four attempts from deep.

“I’m just here to make winning plays and do whatever I can to help our team win,” Harler said. “We needed a 3-pointer and I stepped up and hit it.”

Harler’s teammates have taken notice not only to his work ethic, but his confidence level, which continues to rise.

“I passed it to him in the corner and he shot a 3 with no hesitation,” Osabuohien said. “Earlier in the season, he probably hesitates or thinks about it. We really feed off of him being a senior and providing that leadership.”

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