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Five Takeaways: Sherman, Osabuohien Need to Be in Game as Much as Possible

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(Kelsie LeRose / WVSN)

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Yes, West Virginia did walk out of the WVU Coliseum on Tuesday night, with a 60-53 victory over Oakland but it’s evident that Taz Sherman and Gabe Osabuohien will have to be on the court as much as possible going forward.

For the stat geeks out there, Sherman and Osabuohien had the two-highest plus/minus’ on the team. Plus/minus evaluates how much your team is winning or losing by when you’re in the game. Osabuohien finished with +16, while Sherman was +9.

It doesn’t need to take stats to prove that these two need to be on the floor at all times. Sherman thus far has shown that he will run the offense this season, scoring 29 points in the exhibition game and finishing with 18 on Tuesday. Osabuohien’s presence on defense was amazing, creating five charge calls on Oakland.

When these two are on the floor, they make their teammates better. The Mountaineers will need Sherman and Osabuohien to lead the team this season.

Someone To Step Up on the Boards

Since the exhibition game against Akron two weeks ago, it was noticeable that West Virginia will have a problem rebounding the ball. This was expected following the coaches and players talking about it in October. Everyone misses Derek Culver.

On Tuesday, Oakland out-rebounded West Virginia 48-33.

“We don’t rebound the ball, we just stand around and watch,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “That’s got to get fixed in a hurry.”

In one possession, Oakland rebounded the ball four-straight times, and it was clear that Huggins was not happy.

“We’re going to rebound till until we have black and blue butts tomorrow,” Huggins said.

Kobe Johnson, Wilson Will Play Roles as Freshmen

Within the first two minutes of the game, starting guard Kedrian “Keddy” Johnson picked up two quick fouls, sending him to the bench. Transfer Malik Curry checked into the game and also picked up two fouls.

Huggins sent two young guards to go make their collegiate debuts.

Kobe Johnson and Seth Wilson both played a good amount of time in the first half against the Golden Grizzlies, showing that they will get quality playing time this season for freshmen.

Johnson scored his first basket for WVU in the first half, collecting eight minutes. Wilson checked into the game for five minutes, shooting the ball three times.

Team Will Struggle Against Zone Again

Oakland ran a two-three zone against the Mountaineers, which was similar to what was ran against them most of the season. Unlike last year, the opponent doesn’t have to worry about double-teaming anybody in the paint, like they did to Culver. The Golden Grizzlies created shooting problems for the Mountaineers, as WVU shot 4-of-21 from three.

“That’s a different zone. Greg [Kampe] does a great job with it,” Huggins said. “I think everybody has a hard time adjusting to it and they cover a lot of ground but if we had somebody who could score close, they probably wouldn’t have been able to stay in it as long as they stayed in it.”

This team relies way too much on deep shots to the point where they can’t afford to have many bad shooting nights. This game is only close because of the rebounding and the first half struggles shooting-wise. West Virginia did shoot the ball better in the second half but they’re going to have problems again going up against the zone.

Lineups Could Change Depending on Opponent

As there has been a lot of negatives regarding this year’s basketball team, there is one huge positive: West Virginia has 14 guys.

On Tuesday, Huggins played 11 players, with just forwards Taj Thweatt, Seny Ndiaye and Jamel King not receiving playing time. As said above, it’s a good sign that Ko. Johnson and Wilson are receiving early minutes in the first game of the year.

Huggins and his coaching staff have a lot of cards to roll with. They may not have a Deuce McBride or a Culver, but they have 10 to 12 guys who could start for this team or another D-I program.

Having this many guys will help West Virginia out in the long run.

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. He currently is an intern with the Final Fourcast podcast. Ethan has covered WVU football and men’s basketball for the last year with Blue Gold Sports — an USA Today credentialed outlet. He is from Cincinnati, OH.

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