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WVU Escapes Shooting Slump, Defeats Missouri State 67-59



WVU Basketball crowd at Coliseum with Maniacs banner against Missouri State

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After a very slow start, WVU Basketball woke up in the second half to defeat Missouri State 67-59 in the season opener.

This was the first time in 16 years that Bob Huggins was not on the sidelines coaching the Mountaineers. This was WVU interim HC Josh Eilert’s first career win as well.

West Virginia shot 4-of-32 (13%) from the field during the first half. The Mountaineers went 14 minutes without a field goal and missed 21-straight shots heading into the half.

Syracuse transfer Jesse Edwards hit half of West Virginia’s first half field goals. Edwards, a 6-foot-11 big man, finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in his Mountaineer debut.

Edwards was also dishing out the ball to shooters on the perimeter. Edwards found forward Quinn Slazinski for three with six minutes left in the game to give WVU a nine-point lead. Slazinski, a transfer by way of Iona and St. John’s, scored 18 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field with seven rebounds.

Out of the half, the Mountaineers woke up, hitting a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. West Virginia also came out of the break with much more energy. WVU G Seth Wilson connected on back-to-back threes in the early portion of the second half, giving the Mountaineers the lead back. In his first game ever starting for the Mountaineers, Wilson ended up with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from three.

WVU closed the game out with back-to-back dunks by Josiah Harris.

West Virginia finished the game shooting 22-of-63 (35%) from the field.

The Mountaineers ended up winning the rebounding battle 46-40 and only turned the ball over seven times.

West Virginia had just eight scholarship players available on Monday as Kerr Kriisa, RaeQuan Battle and Akok Akok are all ineligible to play.

Eilert ruled out Akok last Thursday after his health scare against George Mason last week. Akok’s timetable to return to the floor is unknown. West Virginia will also be without Kriisa, who was suspended for nine games earlier in the week for receiving impermissible benefits while enrolled at Arizona.

Battle is also waiting on his waiver appeal decision from the NCAA. Battle’s initial waiver was denied in October, but West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are helping the process by writing letters to NCAA President Charlie Baker. For now, Battle is ineligible to play this season.

West Virginia will now prepare to host Monmouth on Friday night at the WVU Coliseum. Tipoff between the Mountaineers and Hawks will begin at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.

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