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Takeaways: WVU Runs Out of Gas in Second Half vs. SMU



WVU Basketball Jesse Edwards and Alex Ruoff

WVU Basketball picked up their second loss on the season against SMU in the Fort Myers Tip-Off opening round. Let’s take a look at some takeaways from the game.

WVU’s Lack of Depth is a Serious Problem

West Virginia’s lack of depth was clearly going to be a problem heading into game one on Nov. 6 but after Monday’s loss to SMU, it’s clear that it’ll continue to be a problem unless the Mountaineers can bring back two or three players. WVU only scored 22 points in the second half after playing their best basketball of the young season in the first half. WVU interim HC Josh Eilert also had the team run 2-3 zone again, which worked until SMU started to hit their shots.

With Jeremiah Bembry out with a recent injury and Patrick Suemnick only playing eight minutes, West Virginia is asking six guys to play for over 25 minutes a game. Eilert has been using timeouts to give the team some rest but it’ll catch up to them like it did against the Mustangs.

Edwards, Slazinski Only Consistent Players

Jesse Edwards and Quinn Slazinski have proven to be WVU’s only consistent players throughout the beginning of the season. Edwards is averaging 15.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks through the first four games. Slazinski is leading the team in scoring with 16.3 points on 43% shooting from the field and 44% shooting from three. Both players have scored in double figures in all four contests.

Kobe Johnson, Seth Wilson, Josiah Harris and Ofri Naveh have shown signs at times but West Virginia will need these guys to produce every night at a consistent level. It will definitely become a “what if” situation as Kerr Kriisa (suspension), RaeQuan Battle (waiver appeal) and Akok Akok (health) are ineligible to play currently.

Team Has Quickly Improved, But by How Much Better Can They Get?

Since the first week of the season, this group has improved a lot team chemistry-wise. Guards in transition are looking for Edwards to finish lobs, the team is communicating on zone defense and players are learning where everyone else is going to be. West Virginia won the rebounding battle, had a good first half overall and still lost by 12 points. It raises the question, how much better can this team get before players can return?

West Virginia can’t look forward as they play No. 24 Virginia on Wednesday in the third-place game in the Fort Myers Tip-Off.

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