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West Virginia Falls to UMass After Slow Start, 87-79



SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — In the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, UMass closed out West Virginia late after the Mountaineers attempted a double-digit comeback. The Minutemen ended up winning 87-79.

West Virginia (4-6) looked off for the majority of the game as UMass (6-2) controlled momentum. WVU F Quinn Slazinski was able to get it going mid-way through the second half with back-to-back baskets. Slazinski, who struggled in the first half, was able to get WVU rolling with momentum. Kerr Kriisa hit 6-threes against the Minutemen, which also helped with just staying in the game.

WVU played at a slower pace during Kriisa’s absence but the Arizona transfer didn’t waste any time trying to play faster. Kriisa’s passing ability resulted in quality three-point attempts for himself and his teammates. Kriisa converted on a four-point play in the first half to stop an early UMass lead.

UMass had plenty of answers between Josh Cohen and Robert Davis Jr.

Davis Jr. was a 25% three-point shooter heading into the game. Davis showed a great performance from deep against the Mountaineers, shooting 6-of-8.

West Virginia returned Kerr Kriisa (suspension) and Noah Farrakhan (waiver) all against the Minutemen on Saturday. WVU G RaeQuan Battle was expected to play until gameday where he was doubtful with flu-like symptoms. Kriisa was expected to return vs. UMass since he received a nine-game suspension right before the season started. Battle and Farrakhan were deemed eligible on Wednesday after Judge John Preston Bailey issued a TRO against the NCAA’s transfer rules. This made every multi-time transfer eligible.

Kriisa ended the game with 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Farrakhan had 15 points and four assists.

Heading into the half, the Mountaineers were out of sync and trailed by 15. UMass took advantage of WVU’s turnovers and were hitting transition threes as well. Jesse Edwards and Slazinski struggled through the first frame despite Kriisa’s passes.

West Virginia got destroyed on the boards 47-32.

West Virginia will have a few days off before hosting Radford next Wednesday at the WVU Coliseum. Former Mountaineer guard Darris Nichols will coach against West Virginia once again for the Highlanders. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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