MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Same game, different day. West Virginia comes out of the half with effort and energy after failing to do so in the first half. The Mountaineers were able to run past Youngstown State, on Wednesday night, 82-52.
Something just clicked in the second half for the Mountaineers (11-1), it always does with this team. Maybe it was something said at halftime by the coaching staff? Who knows, but this was an entirely different team after the first half.
It starts with the shooting by West Virginia and the full-court pressure that the Penguins (7-4, 2-0 Horizon) couldn’t do anything about.
Sean McNeil had a great second half, making 4-three’s by the 12:33 mark. The Kentucky native scored zero points in the first half, only attempting one shot, but was able to get it going in the second half, shooting 8-of-9 from the field. McNeil finished with 23 points in the second half and for the game.
WVU really got the full-court pressure going in the early stages of the second half. Within one minute of play, Youngstown State turned the ball over three times as they struggled to move the ball around the full-court defense. Shocker, the pressure was led by no other than Gabe Osabuohien. Osabuohien created some points on offense by playing great defense.
What all got turned around was by Taz Sherman giving the Mountaineers some made baskets. Once again, the team relied on Sherman to score the ball and the Texas native did exactly that with a sequence of back-to-back three’s to give West Virginia their biggest lead of the night to that point. Sherman finished with 16 points.
In the first half, WVU played with no energy. Lazy defense and barely any movement on offense. West Virginia started the game shooting 1-of-14 from the field. The Mountaineers finished shooting 45 percent from the field against the Penguins.
A positive point overall for West Virginia was Isaiah Cottrell trying to draw contact more than he has all season. Cottrell has spent the last year recovering from his achilles injury and adapting to getting back on the court. The redshirt freshman suffered the injury almost a year ago today and has admitted to playing more cautiously. Cottrell was knocking into YSU players trying to grab rebounds and create good defense. It could be a turning point for Cottrell, as he finished with three blocks.
Other than Sherman and McNeil, the notable West Virginia scorers were Malik Curry (12), Jalen Bridges (9) and Pauly Paulicap (6).
Head coach Bob Huggins will give his players a little break over Christmas, as the players will return to campus either on Dec. 26 or 27. West Virginia’s next game will be on New Year’s Day, as they travel down to Austin to take on No. 16 Texas. The game will start at noon, on ESPNU.
(Top Photo: Julia Mellett / WVSN)
The boys are stretching one last time before Christmas break. #WVU to tipoff with Youngstown State at 6 p.m.
— Ethan Bock (@ethanbock_) December 22, 2021