West Virginia Men’s basketball has returned.
On Saturday night, the Mountaineers hosted Albany in an exhibition game which replaced the annual Gold and Blue Debut. The contest raised over $27,000 for hurricane relief efforts via concession sales, ticket sales and donations.
There is a lot of new faces in the basketball program this year after replacing some key players from a Sweet 16 squad from last year. Also, Bob Huggins is tasked with finding a replacement – or replacements – for suspended Esa Ahmad for the first ten games of the year.
Wesley Harris got the nod over Ahmad and tallied 7 points and 8 rebounds.
West Virginia would start the game with a 10-2 run and would remain in control throughout the game.
With the lack of depth, there was concern that West Virginia may not press an entire game, but that was not the case in the Mountaineers debut. The Press Virginia style was green-lighted 40 minutes, getting 38 points off 24 turnovers.
Freshman Teddy Allen would come off the bench and look like a stud, attacking the rim with hostility. Allen would get rewarded for his aggressive offensive play, taking 13 free throw attempts, but only making 7 of them. He would finish the game with 15 points.
Jevon Carter didn’t have a good shooting performance (3-9 fg, 0-2 3pt) but would find 9 of his 15 points from the free throw line, hitting 90% of his free throws. Carter had command of the offense, getting the ball into the right areas and finding the open man for 6 assists.
James “Beetle” Bolden looked good on the offensive end of the floor, hitting 5-9 from the field, 4-7 from three and 2-3 from the line, finishing the game with 15 points and 5 rebounds.
Sagaba Konate is still a force in the middle on the defensive end. He had 4 blocks in the game but would foul out in just 15 minutes of play. He must get in better position so he can keep himself on the floor. Sags had 2 fouls in just a little over the first minute of the game.
There was a lot of talk around the basketball program about the weight that Lamont West put on in the off-season, and it was all muscle. Last season, West mainly stayed along the perimeter looking to take the jump shot, but to start this season, he is becoming more of a complete scorer.
West would finish the game with 26 points and 4 rebounds in just 18 minutes.
Even though the Mountaineers would win 98-67, there was some concerns on the defensive end of the floor and some chemistry on the offensive end. This is a young group and head coach Bob Huggins must find guys he trusts on the floor and which guys play well together.