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To Beat Top Teams WVU’s Young Guards Need to Step Up



MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – One of the best stats to look at when evaluating a point guard is their assists-to-turnovers ratio. That number can give a pretty good indication of how a player is as a passer and how well they can read the opposing defense.

Wednesday night against No. 3 Kansas,  West Virginia’s three primary point guards committed eight turnovers and did not dish out a single assist.

Sophomore starter Jordan McCabe played 27 minutes, made four shots for 10 points and turned the ball over four times. Freshman Miles McBride played 18 minutes, scored five points and turned the ball over three times. Sophomore Brandon Knapper played only three minutes, missed all three shots he attempted and committed a turnover.

After the game, McCabe knew the loss fell on their shoulders.

“Wins fall on the team, losses fall on the points guard,” McCabe said. “Myself, Deuce (McBride), Knapp (Knapper) we all take full responsibility for that, we’re not taking care of the ball. We knew we had to and down the stretch, you give them more possessions than you get, that’s how they win games.”

As a team, the Mountaineers committed 19 turnovers, compared to only 13 by the Jayhawks.

“The best teams in the country, top-5 teams in the country don’t do that,” McCabe said. “That’s on us as a unit and myself as a point guard getting us ready to cut those down because it’s been kind of a continuous thing now. We might have gotten away with it, but you’re not going to get away with it playing against teams you’re going to see in the Final Four.”

WVU has been a turnover-prone team this season, ranking last in the Big 12 committing 14.8 turnovers per game. McCabe (44 assists, 31 turnovers), McBride (43, 33) and Knapper (17, 20) are not the main culprits on the team, but their combined assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.24 does not help the offense very much.

“They haven’t played,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “Jordan played a little bit at the end last year, Knapp played a little bit at the end. Knapp’s not really a point, Knapp’s more of a scoring kind of guys. Deuce wasn’t really a point guard (in high school). We’re inexperienced.”

Of WVU’s 19 turnovers against Kansas, 11 of them came in just the second half, including a series where KU’s Marcus Garrett had a steal on three straight possessions.

The frequent turnovers eventually stalled WVU’s offense. The Mountaineers did not make a field goal in the final six minutes of the contest. In that period the team scored a single point on a free throw.

“We got stagnant and once again, that’s on myself or whoever’s out there at the point of it all,” McCabe said. “We can’t stand around and get stale. Our guys have put enough time in knowing the plays and knowing the sets that we’ve got to be better at jumping right into them and getting a really good look.”

Life will not get easier for the Mountaineers as they travel to play No. 1 Baylor Saturday afternoon. The Bears have committed the least amount of turnovers in the Big 12 (272) and have the best turnover margin (11.8). Tip-off in Waco, Texas is set for 4 p.m. EST.

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