MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – In a charity exhibition affair inside the WVU Coliseum, West Virginia defeated Akron 74-59, as the Mountaineers tried to find their new identity.
All proceeds from Friday night’s exhibition went to the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund.
Here for #WVU’s exhibition game against the Akron Zips.
Follow along for updates pic.twitter.com/wOMWCSoLO5
— Ethan Bock (@ethanbock_) October 29, 2021
In the first half, fifth-year senior Taz Sherman ran most of the offense, scoring 20 points in the first half. Sherman showed that he will replace Deuce McBride at the guard spot this season. Sherman finished with 29, shooting 10-of-14 from the field. The JUCO product connected on 3-three’s, as well as three assists.
As Sherman led the offense, the team looked way better when he was out there. When Sherman was on the bench, the offense struggled to get the ball moving around. West Virginia shot 45 percent from the field and shot 8-of-22 from three against the Zips.
Fifth-year transfers Dimon Carrigan, Malik Curry and Pauly Paulicap all got action on Friday. Carrigan’s presence was known in the paint, interrupting a few shots by Akron. Late in the second half, Carrigan grabbed a shot by Akron with both hands and pulled it down.
When Curry was on the floor with Sherman, he took some of the ball handling duties over and did fairly well. The 6-foot-1 guard from Old Dominion had a few good transitions, showing off his speed. Paulicap briefly got into the first half, rolling off a pick-and-roll that resulted in a lay-up.
Guard Sean McNeil struggled shooting in the first half, shooting 0-of-5, but the Kentucky native got it together in the second half against the Zips. McNeil finished with 10 points.
Forward Jalen Bridges finished with seven points, while Isaiah Cottrell had eight.
The first game of basketball without Derek Culver, was a struggle for the Mountaineers. Akron out-rebounded WVU, 16-15, in the first half. The returning players know they have to make an effort to rebounding the ball as a team now without Culver.
Many positives and a few negatives came out of the exhibition against Akron. The team needs to stay consistent on defense and figure out the rebounding situation.
The Mountaineers now will await their first real game, on Nov. 9, when they welcome Oakland. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m., broadcasted by ESPN+.
(Top Photo: Kelsie LeRose – WVSN)