Foul Trouble Management Common Theme in All Four of WVU’s Losses
In all four of West Virginia’s losses so far this season, there has been a common theme amongst all games: foul trouble management. WVU has lost to now-No. 1 Purdue, Xavier, Kansas State and Oklahoma State up until this point.
In the second half, WVU F Tre Mitchell picked up his fourth foul with 16 minutes left to go in the game. When Mitchell subbed out, the score was 45-37 Purdue. Mitchell did not return to the floor and his offensive presence was needed as WVU lost by a dozen.
Jimmy Bell also picked up his fourth foul around the same time as Mitchell did and was disqualified with under three minutes to play. Maybe there’s more to Mitchell not returning to the floor but West Virginia could’ve thrown him in there after the last media timeout of the game.
A similar situation with Mitchell occurred in the Xavier game as well. The Texas transfer picked up his fourth foul with seven minutes remaining in the second half. Mountaineers were up 68-65. Mitchell failed to check back into the game as Xavier went on a 19-6 run after Mitchell was subbed out.
In both the Purdue and Xavier games, Mitchell did not foul out, just had four fouls but did not return to the floor once he picked up his fourth personal.
Against Kansas State, WVU guards Erik Stevenson, Joe Toussaint and Kedrian Johnson all fouled out. Stevenson fouled out in regulation, Toussaint and Johnson fouled out toward the end of the overtime period.
Stevenson picked up his fourth foul after a technical was called on him early in the second half. Stevenson was subbed in and out throughout the rest of the game before his fifth foul with 1:25 to go as WVU trailed by one. WVU’s coaching staff made the best out of Stevenson’s early fourth foul but the fifth-year senior didn’t have a chance to get his rhythm back.
Stevenson played just 22 minutes in the overtime loss.
Side note: Toussaint played eight minutes in the first half with just one foul and played seven minutes in the second half picking up three more fouls.
In the second half against Oklahoma State, Stevenson picked up his fourth personal after being issued a technical. The Washington native stayed in the game but didn’t last long, picking up his fifth foul just 80 seconds later. Stevenson made his third-straight three-pointer to give WVU their first lead of the game but there was too much time after picking up the technical foul.
WVU F Emmitt Matthews picked up his third and final foul with 18 minutes left in the second half. Matthews stayed in the game until the 12-minute mark and then did not return to the floor until the final media timeout. Matthews scored seven of his eight points between the 18 and 12-minute marks before being taken out. Matthews was starting to heat up despite having three fouls and didn’t return to the court until it was almost too late.
West Virginia’s losses can be blamed for the turnovers and the free-throw shooting but the foul-trouble situations the team is placed in have played a factor as well. WVU needs Stevenson, Mitchell, Matthews and Toussaint on the floor at all times and can’t deal with foul trouble or mismanagement of those fouls.