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West Virginia aims to rebound, cool off Radford

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West Virginia hopes to get back on the winning track Wednesday night when the Mountaineers host a streaking Radford team in Morgantown, W.Va.

The Mountaineers (4-6), who have dropped three of their last four games, are coming off Saturday’s 87-79 home loss to UMass. Starting center Jesse Edwards suffered a fractured wrist in the defeat and is expected to miss four weeks.

Fifth-year transfer RaeQuan Battle is ready to make his Mountaineers debut. Battle was set to face UMass in his first game since coming over from Montana State, following a ruling last week that prevents the NCAA from enforcing its transfer rules. However, Battle came down with flu-like symptoms.

West Virginia interim head coach Josh Eilert says the biggest thing his team needs to improve on is rebounding.

“From Day 1 this summer, I thought that was going to be a problem,” Eilert said after the loss to UMass. “And it’s proven to be a problem night in and night out.”

The Highlanders (9-4) are on a four-game winning streak and have shown they can hang with tough competition.

Since losing by one to Old Dominion on Nov. 29, Radford has scored 70 or more points each game during its winning streak, most recently beating host Bucknell 70-63 on Saturday. It was the Highlanders’ first road win after losing their first four away from home.

Arguably, the Highlanders’ most notable game this season was one they didn’t win. Against then-No. 24 James Madison on Nov. 17, Radford kept up with the Dukes in a 76-73 loss.

Offensively, the Big South school has been led by Kenyon Giles, who leads the Highlanders in average points per game (14.8). He scored a game-high 20 in Saturday’s win over Bucknell.

It will be another homecoming for Radford head coach Darris Nichols, who was a West Virginia guard from 2004-08.

“It’s going to be different with all the changes that have gone on within the (WVU) program,” Nichols said. “But you still see people in the stands that you know. … That’s always special.”

West Virginia is 7-0 against Radford, including a 67-51 home win in their last meeting two seasons ago.

–Field Level Media

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