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Takeaways: WVU Basketball Shows Highs and Lows in Season Opener



Josiah Harris WVU Basketball

WVU Basketball opened the regular season with a 67-59 win over Missouri State on Monday night. Let’s take a look at some takeaways from Josh Eilert’s first career win as a head coach.

First and Second Halves Were Night and Day

West Virginia fans were able to see the highs and lows with the current group of eight players against MSU. The Mountaineers started out the game on a 15-4 run before not scoring a field goal in the final 14 minutes of the first half.

WVU missed 21 straight shots heading into halftime.

“I mean, it’s almost funny,” WVU F Quinn Slazinski said postgame. “I mean we’re looking at each other like guys nothing is falling for us. We can’t catch a break but don’t worry because when we get into halftime, we’re going to flush it out. Then in the second half, we were ready to go.”

And that’s exactly what West Virginia did.

The Mountaineers shot 18-of-31 (58%) from the field during the second half after only making four shots in the first frame. If West Virginia’s offense can put together a complete game, they’ll be an efficient group moving forward.

On the defensive end, West Virginia allowed 20 points in the paint in the first half and only two points in the second.

Bench Play a Clear Issue

WVU’s bench scored eight points against the Bears with Ofri Naveh and Patrick Suemnick scoring four each. Eilert has eight scholarship players available as Kerr Kriisa (suspension), Akok Akok (health) and RaeQuan Battle (waiver) are ineligible to play.

Naveh showed potential on the offensive end with his IQ but the Mountaineers need someone to return to the floor to help with the overall depth.

Slazinski Needs to Keep Up Scoring

Slazinski is by far West Virginia’s x-factor with the current rotation they have. The 6-foot-9 forward has shown that he can be right alongside Jesse Edwards as an offensive threat. Slazinski finished with 18 points on 4-of-10 shooting while making 8-of-9 from the line. The Iona transfer pulled down seven rebounds as well.

WVU desperately needs double figures from Slazinski with an eight-man rotation. If Slazinski can keep up his scoring until Kriisa returns to the court in mid-December, he will have done his part. Slazinski’s performances could tell how much better West Virginia can get.

Mountaineers Took Care of the Ball

If there’s any positive to take from Monday’s win, it’s that West Virginia took care of the ball early in the season. The month of November is the sloppiest basketball you’ll see at the colligate level. West Virginia and Missouri State both played carefully, only combining for 10 turnovers.

West Virginia just turned the ball six times with Slazinski (3), Edwards (1), Seth Wilson (1) and Naveh (1) recording the individual stats. Eilert has brought up depth, defense and rebounding as early issues but it looks like taking care of the ball isn’t an early issue for now.

WVU Basketball now looks to host Monmouth on Friday night at the coliseum. The next two games should be used to practice completing full games and staying out of foul trouble.

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