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Takeaways from WVU’s Exhibition Win Over George Mason



WVU Exhibition Kerr Kriisa

WVU defeated George Mason 85-78 in a charity exhibition game on Friday night. This was the first time the new-look Mountaineers played in front of a crowd. Let’s take a look at some takeaways from the contest.

West Virginia Could Have Many Issues

Despite the season not officially starting, West Virginia has shown that this team will have many holes. Depth, defense, rebounding are certain things to be concerned but that can be worked on.

Against George Mason, WVU struggled once Jesse Edwards and Akok Akok each were in foul trouble during the first half. George Mason held onto a lead for the majority of the game and it wasn’t until Edwards and Quinn Slazinski took the game over that the Mountaineers ran away with it.

With the unknown of Akok’s medical status, the overall depth of this team could be a struggle if the back end of the bench doesn’t take a step forward.

WVU interim HC Josh Eilert has mentioned previously that defense and rebounding are issues. West Virginia allowed 78 points on an almost-perfect offensive performance from GMU. The Patriots shot 13-of-21 from the field and 15-of-17 from the free-throw line in the first half. George Mason cooled off but still scored the ball in the second frame. West Virginia won the rebounding battle, 30-29.

This team can pull out wins without RaeQuan Battle, but they could struggle to compete in the Big 12 without the 6-foot-5 guard.

Edwards, Slazinski Look Season Ready

A positive point from Friday’s exhibition was how ready Edwards and Slazinski look. The pair appeared season-ready.

Edwards finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks in 24 minutes. The Syracuse transfer shot 8-of-12 from the field. Slazinski, a transfer from Iona, scored 21 points as well on 5-of-12 shooting.

Edwards made most of his plays look effortless. Edwards scored on back-to-back and-one conversions late in the second half to help WVU gain breathing room. Eilert had Slazinski come first off the bench in the sixth-man role. Slazinski will be needed to be the scoring plug off the bench.

Can Harris, Naveh Play Consistently?

WVU forwards Josiah Harris and Ofri Naveh are two of the players needed to step up while Battle awaits his wavier status. Even if Battle can play this season, the youthful wings will need to provide some play at the three.

Harris, who was inserted into the starting lineup, was aggressive on both ends of the floor. The Canton, Ohio native scored 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Naveh recorded nine points, five rebounds and three assists. Naveh looked lost at times but did showcase his high IQ on the offensive end as a true freshman.

West Virginia will need this pair desperately this season.

The Mountaineers will open the season against Missouri State on Monday, Nov. 6 at the WVU Coliseum.

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