The West Virginia Mountaineers went on the road for their first true road game this season and came away with an 80-71 victory over the Georgetown Hoyas. Things did not start how the Mountaineers had hoped. Georgetown really dictated the pace in the first half and made the WVU guards pay for going under screens. The Hoyas knocked down 6 threes en route to a 34-32 first half lead. McBride kept the team afloat on the offensive end with 11 points. The ongoing problem of foul trouble for the bigs showed again as all four bigs went into the locker room with two fouls. Huggins went to a zone for the end of the half hoping to help keep any of them from getting their third. That helped Georgetown in getting to the lead as they got open looks but it did keep them from getting to the line more.
The second half was a different ballgame. The two teams spent the first several minutes trading buckets back and forth. A two minute stretch with about 13 minutes to play really changed the game in my mind. McBride knocked down a three, a few plays later was the great feed for a dunk by Tshiebwe, and the run was finished off by the incredible alley oop by Emmitt Matthews.
Although Georgetown did make a few shots after that to take the lead, you could tell the Mountaineers had taken control of the game. The defense was taking control and making it very difficult for Georgetown to do anything they wanted. Overall, this was a well put together performance with contributions from a lot of different guys that need to continue to play well if the Mountaineers want to finish near the top of the Big 12.
Miles McBride – Deuce keeps improving every game. His mid range shot was back on last night which is his most consistant part of his game. What impressed me was he looked more engaged on the defensive end, pulling away a few steals to get out on the fast break, and keeping his head up on those fast breaks leading to easy buckets. One note on his stat line. Since 1984, only 4 other players have had a stat line of 17, 7, and 7. Juwan State, Devin Ebanks, and Damian Owens are the first three. The last one is Jevon Carter who did it four times! Just a crazy stat that makes me appreciate Jevon even more.
17 points, 7 assists, 7 rebound
Sean McNeil – McNeil’s shot is so pure. It has to start falling at some point. I’ll still take his shots creating opportunities for others on the glass as an acceptable form of offense in the mean time. He is in there for a reason. Huggins believes in him so I will too.
7 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists
Emmitt Matthews – As someone pointed out to me, Matthews was about ready to fail out of college with the grades I’ve been giving him. This is a grade he can take home and put on the fridge. On offense, the Mountaineers need him to continue to attack the rim instead of settling for jump shots. He is the best player at attacking the rim and finishing on this team. He’s shown glimpses, just not enough of it. We’ve also seen glimpses of big time dunks from him and we were gifted with two of them last night.
13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Oscar Tshiebwe – There isn’t much to say here for Tshiebwe. He had a few nice plays on the offensive end but still looks lost at times. He played well defensively in the second half and was able to stay out of foul trouble, ending with only three. We’ll take improvement in that area.
9 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assists
Derek Culver – We didn’t get to see much of Culver in the first half due to picking up his 2nd foul seven minutes into the game. In the second half, he continued to show his improvement around the rim. He is a much better finisher. He had two great step throughs, a few hook shots, and still almost ended with a double double. On top of that, both Culver and Tshiebwe are starting to get that high low pass down. Huggins loves to see that play converted for a bucket. It’s tough to give him a high grade with limited minutes but I still think he earned it.
14 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assists
Taz Sherman – Taz is such a vital part of what this team does. When he is in the game, the offense flows through him. He knocks down a few free throws and hits a few of his patented mid range shots. I don’t think it is time for it yet, but he may work his way into the starting lineup as the season goes along.
12 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists
Jalen Bridges – Bridges finally gets on the scorer’s sheet. He’s been standing in the corner shooting those threes in the first few games of the season but finally gets one to fall. He continues to compete on the defensive end so the made shot gives him a little boost from last game
3 points, 1 rebounds, 0 assists
Isaiah Cottrell – I would love to be a fly on the wall at practice today. Cottrell has been improving every game this season but I think he took a slight step back here. For a short three minute stretch in the first half, Cottrell came in due to the big’s foul trouble and followed it up with three jump shots, including two from behind the arc. He hasn’t shown that he can make those in a game yet. Let the game come to you and work a little bit down low.
0 points, 4 rebound, 1 assists
Gabe Osabuohien – A very quiet night from Gabe. He had a few calls not go his way but he still gave his typical effort.
0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Jordan McCabe – I was tough on Jordan after the Gonzaga game. He got a lot of criticism from other outlets as well telling him to transfer. That’s ridiculous, he just needs to play better. He played well on both ends tonight and knocked down a three. Let’s continue to see growth from there and get back to the old Jordan.
5 points, 4 assists, 1 rebounds
Kedrian Johnson – Johnson only saw a few minutes of the court and did not really stand out in his time.
0 points, 0 rebound, 1 assists