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Takeaways: Monmouth Loss Could Start Long Season for WVU



WVU Monmouth
Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

On Friday night, Monmouth came into Morgantown and defeated WVU 73-65 without much challenge. Let’s look at some takeaways from West Virginia’s first loss of the season.

WVU Can’t Beat 2-3 Defense

If you’re an opposing coach and you’re scouting West Virginia, it’s pretty obvious the easiest way to stop this team is to play 2-3 zone. West Virginia could not figure out how to beat Monmouth’s 2-3 zone, which resulted in a lot of missed shots from Kobe Johnson, Seth Wilson and Josiah Harris. WVU needs to get the ball to Jesse Edwards on every single possession to collapse the defense and open up the perimeter. Edwards played a 2-3 defense under Jim Boeheim for four years, he probably understands how to beat it.

Edwards finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds on 6-of-11 shooting. West Virginia needs to get Edwards to a consistent 14 shots a game.

“[Monmouth] knew in half-court man-to-man that we were going to try and get [Edwards] as many touches as possible. They saw the weakness in that part of the strategy so they went zone early and often,” WVU interim HC Josh Eilert said. “I don’t think we necessarily got bad shots but we didn’t knock them down.”

Rebounding Outside Edwards, Harris is a Problem

Eilert warned everyone about the Mountaineers’ rebounding issues during the preseason. Outside of Edwards and Josiah Harris, this team struggles to secure the rebound.

WVU and Monmouth tied in rebounding at 34 a piece. This comes after WVU tied Missouri State in rebounding as well on Monday. It’s not like West Virginia is getting killed on the boards but they will be once they’re playing Big 12 teams every night.

West Virginia’s rebounding leaders through two games: Edwards (26), Harris (14), Quinn Slazinski (9).

Jacksonville State Game will Tell A Lot 

An early loss to Monmouth at home is nothing but discouraging for any Power-5 program. Monmouth came in and played a complete game behind guard Xander Rice, who finished with 30 points on 50% shooting. After a long offseason, the only thing West Virginia can do is get up and move forward. That’s all they can do.

This loss for West Virginia will either elevate the team in the long run or it’ll be the beginning of a long season for the Mountaineers. WVU’s quad-4 loss to Monmouth doesn’t hurt them as much as some think, as the tournament committee won’t value the game come March if West Virginia is playing well. But can West Virginia improve throughout the season?

Eilert and Slazinski are sure Friday’s performance won’t happen again.

“We’ve got to figure this thing out and we will,” Eilert said.

“This little hiccup we have, we are going to take it and learn from it. I love every single one of my teammates. We’re not going to get bullied again,” Slazinski said.

West Virginia hosts Jacksonville State on Tuesday to complete a three-game home stand.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. jackson five

    November 11, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    there’s a HOF unemployed HC out there who is familiar with the WVU program who is available,and itching to get back to work,,,very experienced, smart,honors student, experienced, and gets the most out of what he’s got… it’s not to late to sign him and have him for the big 12 power 5 games…

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