West Virginia Looks to get Back on Track Against Jacksonville State
|Points Per Game||73.4||80.0|
|Field Goal %||43.7||42.4|
|Rebounds Per Game||37.8||42.7|
|Assists Per Game||13.0||14.7|
|Blocks Per Game||4.8||5.3|
|Steals Per Game||8.9||5.6|
The West Virginia Mountaineers (6-4) are looking to bounce back against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (7-4) this Saturday at noon inside the WVU Coliseum. This will be the first meeting between the programs. The Gamecocks have won seven of their last eight and their only loss was at Wichita State 69-59.
“Josh (Eilert – Director of basketball operations) did a great job of trying – putting together a schedule that we were hoping that was going to enhance our seed. Now we’re fighting to make sure we get one. Ray’s (Harper- JSU head basketball coach) a heck of a coach. Kentucky Wesleyan, Oklahoma City, he’s had success everywhere he’s been.” Said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.
he Mountaineers have lost two out of their last three, including a loss to Rhode Island Sunday afternoon. The lack of offense has been the biggest issue. They have averaged 20.6 turnovers per game during the three-game span and have shot 33.7% from the field.
“We don’t pass the ball -we don’t pass it very well – we don’t pass it often enough.” Explained Huggins. “Our shooting percentage moves up drastically the more we pass the ball. We need to pass the ball. When we have mismatches, we need to take advantage of them.”
Starting forward Sagaba Konate didn’t play Sunday due to a nagging knee injury. Rhode Island scored 44 points in the paint; however, Huggins contributed it to an unbalanced offense. “What did we give up? 46 in points in the paint? And primarily because of our offensive balance was so bad. One guard would drive and the other one would run in like he was going to get a rebound. We just gave away too many easy baskets.”
Huggs went into further detail on why they gave up so many points around the basket. “They weren’t throwing it close and scoring they just beat us down the floor. Our balance was so bad. We had one guard standing in the corner and the other running in to rebound.”
West Virginia has dealt with a lot of injuries here early in the season. Nearly half of the team has missed time due to an injury. The Mountaineers were short handed last season, when starting forward Esa Ahmad missed half of the season because of a suspension.
“Honestly it was easier – like when Esa missed the first 16. We knew he wasn’t going to be there. You could prepare.” Explained Huggins. “I think the hard thing is who’s going to be there that day. When you try to start to put together a game plan. It’s nice to know which guys are going to be there. That’s not an excuse but it’s reality. I think when we get a more consistent rotation it will be a lot easier.”
The Mountaineers might get some immediate help. Forward Derek Culver was recently reinstated to the team this week and according to Huggins, Culver may be able to contribute immediately.
“He wasn’t very rusty yesterday. He didn’t look rusty at all.” Boasted Huggs. “I think he’ll have a hard time when we run sets and things if its not coming out of a timeout. As far as playing, he was really active. He was really active the around the rim. He actually passed it.” Huggins jokingly finished his answer saying, “We may start him at point.”
With Culver’s ability to pass the ball, he’s been effective around the paint. “He’s pretty good in the high post. He’s a big target. And like I said, he passes the ball. He’s a very willing passer. He likes to pass.” Said Huggins.
The team finished up finals last week and was able to put in some extra practice time this week. “Pretty good, pretty good.” Said Huggins describing this week of practice. “We went two-a-days for two days really. We shot the second one primarily but I though it went well. We’re constantly trying to fix things. Our focus has been way more trying to get these guys right than it is really ratcheting anything up. It’s been a whole lot of trying to do fundamental things.”
|Jacksonville State Season Stats|
|Derek St. Hilaire||11||15.7||4.2||1.7||1.1||0.2||0.0||1.4||.306||.650||.150|
|West Virginia Season Stats|
|Emmitt Matthews Jr.||8||11.3||3.4||2.1||0.6||0.1||0.1||0.3||.421||.733||.000|