12-2 Mountaineers boast of many competitors


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  • WVU-Oklahoma State Game Notes
Tale of the Band
Points per game 73.2 69.6
Points against 65.8 61.4
Field goal percentage 44.4 44.5
Percentage of field goal against 39.5 41.7
Percentage of field goals at 3 points 29.4 32.4
Percentage of field goals at 3 points against 33.1 30.5
Free throw percentage 66.3 63.7
Rebound margin +1.4 -0.8
Turnover per game 15.5 12.3
Turnover per game against 18.7 17.4
Flights by part 10.5 8.1
Blocks per game 6.0 5.5

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bob Hertzel, as he tends to do, got to the heart of the matter at Saturday afternoon’s press conference with Bob huggins after West Virginia’s 17-point victory over Kansas State, her record is 12-2.

“What, in your mind, makes a clutch artist?” Hertzel asked the man who has seen more than his fair share of clutches during his college basketball coaching career with 912 wins.

“I think the biggest thing is the will to win,” Huggins replied. “I think Gabe Osabuohien has the will to win. Now he’s not a very good shooter and so everyone is like ‘he can’t shoot’ and so, okay, he can’t shoot, but he makes plays. He’s playing after game after game which allows us to win games, and he’s really done it since he’s been here. “

To keep Kedrian johnson Nor is he necessarily a great shooter, although he was a prolific goalscorer at Temple College in Dallas, TX. But Huggins says West Virginia won’t win the UAB game without Johnson on the ground, and the two free throws he made with 15 seconds left on Saturday kept their foot in Kansas State’s throat as ‘he was trying to steal a victory at the Coliseum.

Like Osabuohien, Johnson is another contender.

“It’s not necessarily just about shooting,” Huggins explained. “In some cases it comes down to ball safety. Who do you have that’s going to give you ball safety? Obviously, Kedy is our best guy when it comes to ball safety.

“Come back to the UAB game and the guy who brought us back into the game was Kedy, without a doubt, and Kedy got us back a lot (in the Kansas State game),” Huggins added.

The two largest shot makers in West Virginia, Taz Sherman and Sean mcneil, certainly delivered on Saturday. McNeil’s second-half bombshell from Fairmont got things going, and a sick Sherman responded with back-to-back triplets to give West Virginia an eight-point lead.

Taz was certainly showing the effects of a week of inactivity by knocking out 14 points on 5 of 13 shots in 31 minutes of action. Meanwhile, McNeil has been magnificent, making 9 of 15 field goal attempts for a career-high 26 points.

Even in a game where McNeil was not in play, like UAB, he still offered a clutch basket with three minutes left to keep West Virginia within striking distance.

These two guys are also competitors.

Sherman and McNeil aren’t yet clutching Da’Sean Butler or Mike Gansey, but their clutch shot can’t be ignored.

Kedrian johnsonKedy Johnson isn’t entirely reliable for Tarik Phillip, but he’s becoming a reliable player.

And, Gabe Osabuohien might not live up to some of the awesome greats Huggins has had here in the past, such as Devin Williams or Derek culver, but you can’t deny the value Big Gabe brings to the team every time he’s on the pitch.

Take Saturday, for example. The senior, coming off COVID-19 protocols, grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds in 28 minutes of action, blocked a shot and distributed an assist.

He also took three charges to give him a team-best 13 for the season.

So when you add those three charges to his 12 rebounds, it’s really like grabbing 15 boards when you count the possessions West Virginia takes out of it. Every time Culver or Williams grabbed 15 rebounds in a game that has always captured people’s attention – far more than those 15 combined possessions Osabuohien created on Saturday through his skill and moxie.

Johnson is just a 63.6% free throw shooter and based on those numbers he’s a guy teams are going to foul at the end of games. Still, Johnson was four-to-four on the line in under a minute to play in the UAB victory, and he was two-on-two with 15 seconds left in the Kansas State victory.

Speaking of free throws, the second-year forward Jalen Bridges made the two biggest games against the Wildcats. The first, with four seconds remaining, put West Virginia ahead by two points. Then he had to wait about five minutes after Kansas State called for a time-out to try to freeze him, and officials took a few more minutes trying to sort out their affairs before handing the ball back to him.

Jalen wasn’t nervous – he was just annoyed that it had taken him so long to make the second hit, which he did. And Jalen wasn’t exactly having one of his best games either, going 0-2 from the floor with a turnaround in 17 minutes of field time.

Yes, Jalen is also a competitor.

Huggins loves to tell and tell how he turned a rock and found all-time great contender Tarik Phillip at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas.

He asked Tarik’s junior coach if he could handle the ball. Not very well, his coach said.

Huggins asked him if Tarik could pass it. His trainer said he wouldn’t call him a big passer.

Huggins asked if he could shoot it. Another no.

“So what is he doing right,” Huggins asked.

“He’s winning,” Phillip’s coach replied.

That’s not to say Tarik wasn’t talented, as he still plays professionally abroad, but he’s not one of those guys with the flashy YouTube videos that everyone today loves to share on social media today. social.

Nate Adrian still plays professionally and he wasn’t like that either, nor Cam Thoroughman, another big competitor. Huggins brings up the name Thoroughman whenever he talks to his guys about what it takes to win basketball games. If you lined up dudes on the backline to pick teams, Cam Thoroughman, without hesitation, would be the last player anyone picks, right after guard Joe Mazzulla.

Well, we saw these two guys once beat No.9 Duke at the Verizon Center in an NCAA tournament game, and a few years later beat a Kentucky team full of No.1 draft picks to help them out. Mountaineers at the Final Four in Indianapolis.

“I never thought Cam would play for us because Cam always thought he was a keeper,” Huggins joked. “But it turned out that we needed someone who could keep (Luke) Harangody in the Notre Dame game, and he came in and did a great job and started from there. only team in America to have a 6- a white soccer-4 playing in the middle, and he did a tremendous job.

“It’s a lot of the indoors, how competitive you are and how competitive you are,” Huggins added.

When West Virginia coaches go looking for players, you better believe these characteristics are being evaluated all the time.

Is he finding ways to find basketball?

Is he ready to defend?

Is it passing it on to the right players?

Does he want the ball when it comes to winning, or does he run away from it?

“You’re looking for guys who want to win and guys who want to compete,” Huggins explained. “I think competition is what we’re all looking for. Devin Williams was here last weekend and have you ever seen someone who wanted to get a bounce more than Devin Williams? Why don’t you recruit this guy?

“It’s not about how the guys look, it’s about the way they play,” Huggins continued. “I think sometimes people get carried away. You walk in and look at a guy in the warm-up line and he’s dipping all over the place and you’re like, ‘God, what a great prospect’ and at the end of the day, it really isn’t. “

This, in a nutshell, basically sums up how this team has won 12 games so far. Four times he has come back from double-digit deficits to win games against Clemson, Eastern Kentucky, UAB and Kansas State, and three times he has won games after falling behind at halftime.

They aren’t always pretty and sometimes make things harder than they should be, but there’s no denying their will to win basketball games. Even in their worst loss of the season in Texas when Sherman, Osabuohien and the freshman Kobe johnson were inactive, the understaffed Mountaineers continued to compete until the very end and actually edged the Longhorns in the second half.

It’s easy to line up behind a rivaling team like this and another tall order awaits West Virginia on Tuesday night when the Mountaineers wrap up their two Big 12 home games against 8-5 Oklahoma State, which eliminated the Texas last Saturday afternoon in Stillwater.

The contest will start at 9 p.m. and is scheduled to air on ESPNU (Rich Hollenberg and Chris Spatola). Oklahoma State won last year’s game at Morgantown and is 6-3 in games played at the WVU Coliseum.


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