We’ve come a long way since Tuesday’s win over Iowa State. Bob Huggins had some very strong words for his team despite pulling out the win. We found out after they defeated Kansas 91-79 that it may be just been for motivation.
“Never let it be said that I won’t resort to trickery if need be.”
Huggs has been asking for his team to guard in the halfcourt and despite giving up 79 points, you could see that there was better effort, better rotations, and just all around better hustle. The Mountaineers never trailed in the game and were able to hold Kansas without a field goal for a three minute stretch in the second half to pull away. Miles McBride and Taz Sherman led the way with big shot after big shot. But I think the versatility of Emmitt Matthews and Jalen Bridges on both ends really made a difference in the game.
This game was the start of a six game stretch that will need more of what we saw defensively. Texas Tech is up next on Tuesday and they will be looking for revenge from the last second win the Mountaineers got in Morgantown.
Miles McBride – Deuce broke out of his slump, if you want to call it that, and had a career game with 29 points. His stat line once again put him in a short list of great Mountaineers. He joins Jevon Carter as the only Mountaineers since 1984 to have multiple games with 17 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds.
29 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds
Emmitt Matthews – Huggs and I don’t always agree but he said after the game that the unsung hero was Emmitt. I think he is getting very comfortable playing in the new style and looks great on both ends.
10 points, 1 assist, 5 rebounds
Taz Sherman – What can you say about Taz? He hit big shot after big shot. His ability to catch the ball in the mid post and hit jumpers over a contested hand is unlike anything we have seen in Morgantown. National Attention might get pointed towards McBride for his way to lead the team but Taz making shots like that completely changes this team.
25 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds
Jalen Bridges – Bridges doesn’t need to score for this team if the guards are going to make shots like they did. He does a great job of staying in front of guys on the drive. He was tasked with guarding Jalen Wilson for much of this one and despite his 16 points, he had to work for most of those.
5 points, 0 assists, 3 rebounds
Derek Culver – Derek was part of the big three in this game. When McCormack was out of the game, Culver could do whatever he wanted. He only missed 4 of his 12 shots and I think each of those came against the bigger McCormack. He also was able to keep up and play good defense at the rim when the game went to a five guard game plan.
19 points, 1 assists, 9 rebounds
Sean McNeil – With Taz playing so well, we didn’t see much from Sean. I think the best plan is to go with the hot hand the rest of the season. With Emmitt healthy and playing the three, these two can rotate in at the two. I was pleasantly surprised at his effort on the defensive end which has been nonexistent lately. So he gets a little boost.
3 points, 1 assist, 1 rebounds
Gabe Osabuohien – Gabe has found a new way to contribute that I hope continues. The guards are mainly switching on screens so the Kansas guards were not prepared when Gabe would hedge hard and double off of the pick and roll. I don’t have the exact numbers but I recall at least 3 Kansas turnovers off of his great defense. He also got another charge and played hard when going up against McCormick.
0 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds
Jordan McCabe – McCabe was out of the starting lineup in favor of Emmitt Matthews and only got a few minutes in this game. With everyone finally healthy and playing well, we might see McCabe lose his minutes again. He once again had a few terrible turnovers that are inexcusable.
0 points, 0 assists, 0 rebound
Kedrian Johnson – I don’t have much to say about Johnson in this one. He played well in his limited time. You know what you’re gonna get from him.
0 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound