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West Virginia Escapes Bellarmine Late, 62-58



WVU Bellarmine

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia escaped Bellarmine late 62-58 in a non-conference matchup on Sunday evening. WVU F Quinn Slazinski found Jesse Edwards for a dunk to close it out for the Mountaineers.

The stat that kept Bellarmine (2-5) in the game was offensive rebounds. The Knights finished with 12 offensive rebounds, 36 overall. Bellarmine G Peter Suder had himself a game, scoring 19 points on 50% shooting.

West Virginia (3-3) freshman Ofri Naveh connected on a three-pointer to give the Mountaineers a five-point lead with three minutes left in the game. Naveh’s three was the biggest stretch of breathing room WVU had the entire second half. Naveh finished with a career high of 10 points on 2-of-4 shooting from the field.

West Virginia played an underwhelming first half, which was highlighted by poor defensive rebounding towards the end of the half. Bellarmine had six offensive rebounds in the first frame but couldn’t connect on most of them. WVU big man Jesse Edwards scored right before the buzzer to send the Mountaineers into halftime with a six point lead.

Edwards ended the game with a double-double of  17 points and 14 rebounds. The Syracuse transfer also had three blocks.

WVU G Jeremiah Bembry returned to the floor on Sunday after missing both games in the Fort Myers Tip-Off event earlier in the week. Bembry played four minutes with a rebound and an assist.

Other notable scorers for WVU: Slazinski (16), Kobe Johnson (13).

West Virginia was once again without RaeQuan Battle (ineligible), Akok Akok (health) and Kerr Kriisa (suspension). Kriisa has now served six out of nine games for his suspension. Most recently, Battle was denied his appeal on Tuesday with the NCAA ruling him ineligible for the 2023-24 season. For now, Battle can return to West Virginia and complete his eligibility next year. West Virginia and Battle are looking to potentially take legal action against the NCAA to make Battle immediately eligible.

West Virginia will have a few days off before hosting St. John’s in the Big East-Big 12 Battle on Friday. This marks the first time since 2012 that Rick Pitino will coach in Morgantown. The Mountaineers and Red Storm will tipoff at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

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