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West Virginia Fights Until the End But Falls to Arkansas, 77-68



West Virginia refused to give up, but the Mountaineers could not get over the hump against Arkansas, eventually falling, 77-68.

West Virginia’s loss on Saturday gives them a five-game losing streak on the year. Arkansas lead for the entirety of the game.

As Arkansas guard JD Notae connected on a jumper, the Razorbacks extended their lead to 54-37 with 14:39 left. It seemed over already for West Virginia. It was the same story as every road game this season. But then, a spark of energy was created with a lineup of Keddy Johnson, Sean McNeil, Taz Sherman, Gabe Osabuohien and Dimon Carrigan. A contested layup by Osabuohien, followed by a great block by Carrigan and the Mountaineers made their own run in the game.

West Virginia proceeded to go on a 12-0 run, to cut the Arkansas deficit to five points. From there, Arkansas responded, going on an 8-0 run of their own.

With Sherman and McNeil struggling to get anything going, someone had to step up for the Mountaineers. This time, it was Keddy Johnson. Johnson constantly hit big shots for WVU and giving the Razorbacks a headache on the defensive end. The senior guard finished with a career-high 18 points, shooting 5-of-9 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from three.

Arkansas out-rebounded the Mountaineers 44-26, as Jaylin Williams played a huge factor in that. Williams was doing everything out there, scoring, rebounding, playmaking and shot blocking. The Arkansas forward finished with 12 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Freshmen Seth Wilson, Kobe Johnson and Jamel King were thrown into the game in the first half, receiving some quality playing time. WVU head coach Bob Huggins mentioned on Wednesday night after the Oklahoma loss, that he apologized to the freshmen, since they have played so well during recent practices, even beating the first team. Wilson played six minutes, pressuring the Razorbacks on defense and even hit a mid-range shot in transition.

Towards the end of the first half, Sherman fell down under the basket, with an apparent ankle tweak. The fifth-year senior came out of the break, showing a little bit of a limp, but toughed it out. Sherman finished with 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting.

In Osabuohien’s homecoming to Fayetteville, the Ontario native fouled out in 13 minutes of playing time, scoring seven points and pulling down three rebounds. Osabuohien played for Arkansas from 2017-19 under former head coach Mike Anderson.

Throughout the first half, West Virginia just could not get by a certain point. The Mountaineers seemingly trailed by eight to 12 points and could never trim the lead to a single possession.

Notable scorers for West Virginia were Keddy Johnson (18), Sherman (15) and Malik Curry (11).

West Virginia will turn right around and take on No. 4 Baylor on Monday night, at 9 p.m. The Mountaineers and Bears will face each other for the second time this season on ESPN.

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