WVU Cruises Past Long Beach State
|Field Goal %||37.5||43.7|
|Three Point %||39.1||42.9|
|Free Throw %||61.1||65.4|
|D. Miles Jr.||2-7||0-2||0-0||1||0||1||2||0||0||0||2||4|
West Virginia and the Long Beach State 49ers met for the first time Monday night, since the 76 Classic in Anaheim, California, on November 26th, 2009 in an 85-62 Mountaineer victory.
It was another slow start for the Mountaineers offensively. Long Beach State started off in a 2-3 zone, which has been a problem for West Virginia this year. The 49ers held the Mountaineers to just 6 points in the first five minutes of the game.
The Mountaineers were struggling to find any inside offense to start the game, but Chase Harler and Lamont West was finding their range from behind the arc, which started to pull the defenders out from the paint.
When the Mountaineers did start to find some offense inside the paint, they put together a 9-0 run and took a 7-point lead 21-14., with 11:08 left in the first half.
Sagaba Konate started to make his presence known in the paint, on both ends of the floor, leading the team in blocks (2) and points (8), taking a breather at the 7:38 mark in the first half.
Long Beach State would hang tough in the first half, hitting some tough shots to stay within striking distance, but Chase Harler was hot from the outside and the Mountaineers started to pull away late in the first half. Harler went 4-5 from the three-point line with 12 points, and West Virginia ended the half on a 16-4 run, taking a 47-30 lead into the half.
Sagaba Konate lead the Mountaineers in scoring in the first half with 14 points. Sags had a nice mid-range game shooting 5-6 from the field and going 4-4 from the free throw line, adding 4 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal.
The Press Virginia defense was tough in the first half, causing 12 turnovers, 7 from steals and getting 13 points off turnovers.
The Mountaineers would come out hot in the second half, scoring 15 points in under 5 minutes to push their lead up to 23, 62-39, but the 49ers just refuse to quit.
The 49ers would go on an 8-0 run to cut the West Virginia lead to just 15, with 11:50 to play in the game, but the Mountaineers would respond.
West Virginia would extend their led up to 22 in the next 4 minutes of play. Sags would leave the floor with his 4th foul with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and a steal with 7:50 to play in the game. Sags had a great night on the offensive end of the floor, “He’s been in the gym quite a bit. Erik’s (Assistant Caoch Erik Martin) done a great job with him and we tried to get him to slow down in the post and then make sure he turned all the way before he turned the all loose, he was shooting a little bit on the turn” said West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins.
The Mountaineers would not allow Long Beach State to get back into the game, controlling the game to the end.
The Press Virginia style of play is getting back to what we’ve seen the past couple years. The Mountaineers forced 21 turnovers, 11 from steals, creating 20 points off turnovers.
West Virginia is improving each time out on the floor, you can see this team growing and gelling together. “I think we’re getting better, its hard because you have to teach so much and when you teach you don’t run up and down. When you run up and down its really hard to teach. When you have as many new guys as we do… when you have older guys you can run up and down more and get a little more game ready. When you have a bunch of young guys you have to play more half-court, you have to do more fundamental things”, said Huggins.
Mountaineers would go on to beat a tough Long Beach State team 91-62, “Their good, their gonna win their league, their gonna be an NCAA Tournament team”, commented Huggins on Long Beach State.