MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia was able to cruise away in the second half from Kent State, in a slow, minimal action game, winning 63-50. Both teams struggled to show any energy throughout the game, resulting in a lot of sloppy turnovers and poor shooting stretches.
A big topic coming into Sunday was the different of free-throw shooting between both teams. The Mountaineers (9-1) came into Sunday’s game 351st in the country in free-throw percentage, the Golden Flashes (5-4) were 1st in the country. Against each other, WVU shot 13-of-24 (54 percent) from the free-throw line, while Kent State shot 8-of-13 (62 percent).
Once again, fifth-year senior Taz Sherman led the West Virginia offense. Sherman finished Sunday’s game with 27 points, on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, making 2-three’s. Sherman is now averaging 21.8 points in the 10 games played.
One Mountaineer won over the coliseum crowd, who was just searching for any energy by the players, Pauly Paulicap. The DePaul transfer came into the game and immediate changed the game in favor of the Mountaineers.
In the second half, Paulicap chased down a Kent State layup and blocked the shot off of the backboard. The fans inside of the coliseum then proceeded to chant “Pauly.” Paulicap finished with five rebounds and two blocks.
Throughout the game, West Virginia led most of the way, but could never break away from KSU. With the shot clock running down, a deep three-point shot by Isaiah Cottrell gave the Mountaineers their largest lead of the game, at the time, up 37-31. As a team, West Virginia shot 6-of-16 (38 percent) from three.
In the second half, Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff was charged with two technical fouls and was thrown out of the game for arguing with an official.
Kent State drove into the paint, getting easy layups towards the end of the first half. With Gabe Osabuohien and Pauly Paulicap in foul trouble, the coaching staff looked to Seny N’Diaye to give WVU rim protection. Head coach Bob Huggins says that N’Diaye has been great in practice, and the sophomore forward showed his work. N’Diaye played five minutes, recording two rebounds and a block.
Freshman James Okonkwo appeared in his second career game for West Virginia, on Sunday.
The notable WVU scorers were Sherman (27), McNeil (19). No one else had over four points.
West Virginia will have finals week off and then travel to Alabama to play UAB, on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS Sports.
(Top Photo: Kelsie LeRose / WVSN)