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West Virginia Holds On to Defeat Jacksonville State



FG Made-Attempted27-5728-62
Field Goal %47.445.2
3PT Made-Attempted3-1112-24
Three Point %27.350.0
FT Made-Attempted15-206-11
Free Throw %75.054.5
Total Rebounds3634
Offensive Rebounds1314
Defensive Rebounds2320
Team Rebounds00
Total Turnovers1514
Personal Fouls1718
Technical Fouls11
Flagrant Fouls00


Morgantown, WV – The West Virginia Mountaineers (7-4) held on to defeat a hot Jacksonville Gamecocks (7-5) team 74-72. JSU came into the game winning seven of their last eight and went toe-to-toe with the Mountaineers.

West Virginia started the game going 2-3 from the field and the game was tied at five. The Mountaineers went cold, missing six straight buckets, including two from behind the arc and fell behind by eight points in the first eight minutes of the game.

Starting Forward Esa Ahmad struggled to start the game and headed to the bench at the 13:01 mark in the first half and did not return. West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins contributed his lack of playing time to a multiple of things.

It wasn’t so much just tonight, it’s a cumulative effect. I think it’s a culmination of a lot of things. You can’t turn it over five times a game. You can’t shoot 19 percent from three and then keep shooting threes. You should be the first one in the gym, not the last. In all those things, maybe one single thin is not such a big deal, but when you start putting everything together (it’s) like everything else. I’m just tired of it. I’m just tired if having to fight guys to play the game they say they love. It’s a great game because you can’t cheat it. If you don’t practice, the ball doesn’t go in. If you don’t get in shape, you can’t run up and down the floor. If you don’t slide your feet, you can’t play defense. You just can’t cheat it. Guys try to cheat, their results aren’t very good.

Forward Derek Culver was recently reinstated to the team and he saw his first action as a Mountaineer with 13:55 left in the first half. Culver had a rough start getting his first two shots blocked. However, his first points came after an offensive rebound and a tough turnaround one-handed shot fell through.

“He doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing, but he’s our best athlete, by far.” Explains Huggins He has to get a cram course of how to play. It’s going to take a while. It’s a whole lot different. You’re trying to work with them and kind of drill them and stuff, then those other nine guys are around you and flying around, it’s a little different.

The Mountaineers re-took the lead, 18-17, on a three from Wesley Harris midway through the first half.

Guard Chase Harler hit a three to give WVU their biggest lead of the half, 30-24, and the Mountaineer followed it up with pressure turning JSU over on a five second violation.

The momentum was on West Virginia’s side but could not capitalize on it as Jacksonville State tied the game up at 31 with just under two minutes to play in the first half.

The Mountaineers took a three-point lead into halftime. Lamont West led WVU with 10 points and Brandon Knapper had a tough eight points.

West Virginia built their largest lead of the game (9) in just under four minutes of play to start the second half and looked like they were going to start to pull away. However, the Gamecocks wouldn’t’ go away quietly and even came back to take a one-point lead with 8:37 left to play in the game.

Wes Harris continued to step up throughout the second half and answered time and time again. He had 17 points in the final 20 minutes on his way to breaking his career high (18) he had just set Sunday against Rhode Island, finishing the game with 20 points and eight rebounds.

“I think that’s the best Wes has ever been, but Wesley’s got more toughness than the rest of those guys.” Said Huggins. “I though he went and got a couple of big boy rebounds and follows that. I haven’t seen all year quite frankly.

The Mountaineers never pulled away and never led by more than five in the final minutes of the game. The Gamecocks score with ease around the basket, giving up 32 points in the paint for the game.

West Virginia did hold on to win the game by two and looking at the box score it’s obvious where the weakness has been the last two games. Getting out-rebounded by Jacksonville State and getting doubled up in points underneath is more than concerning.

Prior to the game, Bob Huggins told play-by-play caller Tony Caridi that starting forward Sagaba Konate will be out up to four weeks with the same knee injury he has been nursing all season.

Getting Derek Culver back is huge but with him behind on knowing the system, the other forwards will have to step up to fill a very big void left by Sags.

West Virginia returns to action next Sunday (December 30th) to take on Lehigh inside the WVU Coliseum at 2:00 pm.


West Virginia Stats
MATTHEWS JR.21-50-20-0400
GAME PCT45.250.054.5


Jacksonville State Stats
ST. HILAIRE00-00-00-0000
GAME PCT47.427.375.0


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