Morgantown, WV – The West Virginia Basketball program held its annual Gold and Blue Debut Friday night with a lot of anticipation to see highly touted freshman Oscar Tshiebwe and the core of sophomores that came together at the end of last season to knock off Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament.
The outcome was a bit of a surprise. The Blue team that had the probable starting five of Derek Culver, Jordan McCabe, Emmitt Mathews Jr, Chase Harler and Tshiebwe lost to Jermaine Haley, Logan Routt and a host of newcomers of the Gold team 67-54.
Of course, this is an intrasquad scrimmage and its for fans and media to get a glimpse of this year’s edition of Mountaineer Basketball but there shouldn’t be a cause of concern. Well, maybe. It appears that they may still have issues taking care of the ball.
“We’re playing enough guards – we’re playing three guards on both teams,” said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. “When you got three guards you shouldn’t turn it over that much and a lot of it was, we tried to force things that weren’t there, and we didn’t hit open guys.”
Huggins has been saying all offseason that he has guys that can shoot. JUCO transfer Taz Sherman lit up the scoreboard in the first half scoring 15 points and had 18 on the night hitting 4-6 from three-point range. McCabe (2-3), Mathews (2-4) and JUCO transfer Sean McNeil (2-4) all showed their range. As a team, they hit 41.3% (12-29) from behind the arc and was 51-110 (46.4%) from the field.
Oscar displayed his athleticism early on an open court steal and took flight and slammed it home. He finished the evening with a double-double 15 points and 11 rebounds on 7-11 shooting from the field.
Defensively, Huggins stated in his opening press conference of the season that he wants to be multiple and it seems that he might be able too. Miles “Duece” McBride can guard baseline to baseline along with Taz. When both are on the floor, they look like a duo that can create pressure in the backcourt.
“We’ve got multiple guys that can score,” said Huggins. “We probably defended better today than we’ve defended in practice. We throw it around too much. We throw it around a lot in practice. We just got to get better at not turning it over. We got to get shots.”
From the looks of it, Huggins has 12 players that can play at a high level. Thirteen, depending on the eligibility of Arkansas transfer Gabe Osabuohien who had seven points and eight rebounds. How this team comes together on the court and when will be a determining factor in how much success they have.