After losing three-straight Big 12 games, No. 17 West Virginia may be overdue for a bit of a shakeup.
WVU coach Bob Huggins said Monday that they are considering making a lot of different changes ahead of the team’s meeting with Oklahoma State Tuesday night.
“Obviously we’ve got to make some changes,” Huggins said. “We’ll make changes personnel-wise, we’ve got to make some changes with what we do.”
Huggins said the need for change comes from the team’s inability to limit turnovers, particularly during this losing stretch.
“We’ve just got to pass the ball. We’ve been very careless with our passing, but even more careless with our ball handling.”
The Mountaineers turned the ball over 11 times at Oklahoma, 19 times against No. 3 Kansas and 22 times at No. 1 Baylor. Against the Bears WVU’s three main big men combined to turn the ball over 14 times. Oscar Tshiebwe and Gabe Osabuohien both committed five turnovers and Derek Culver turned it over four times. Huggins said his bigs need to be smarter with the ball when they get it.
“I think it was a combination of a lot of things. Somehow we got into catching it and dribbling it, which just invites everybody to come to the ball. I think that was a big part of it,” Huggins said. “A big part of it is we try to make great passes, not passes that are there, but kind of thread the needle kind of deal. We completed a few of those and the ‘ooo’s’ and ‘ah’s’ are very tempting. We’ve mishandled it, we’ve yet to figure out what ‘throw it away from the defense’ means.”
Culver and Tshiebwe lead WVU in turnovers with 59 and 50, respectively, and Osabuohien is fourth with 36. The trio combines to average six turnovers per game.
The lone bright spot from the game at Baylor seemed to be the play of Taz Sherman, who led the team with 20 points, all scored in the second half. Huggins cited Sherman’s performance and decreased production from his usual guards as reasons why Sherman will see more playing time moving forward.
“We’ve got to score the ball. Taz obviously has shown that he can score the ball and we’ll go from there,” Huggins said. “We’ve pretty much had the same starting lineup all year, it could be time for a change, see if that helps. We’re probably playing guys too much that shouldn’t play as much as they’re playing and probably not playing some guys enough that should be playing more.”
Starting point guard Jordan McCabe has struggled on offense all season, averaging only 3.4 points and shooting 31%. Reserve point guard Brandon Knapper has fallen into a rough cold slump, shooting 1-18 over his last six games.
Whatever changes Huggins makes will be on display as early as Tuesday when the Mountaineers play host to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. WVU defeated OSU on the road earlier this season, but the Cowboys have won three of their last four games. Tip-off from the WVU Coliseum will come at 7 p.m.
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