Thursday, July 25, 2024

West Virginia attempts to bounce back, battles Jacksonville State

Two games into the season, West Virginia has already gone off script, and not in a good way.

The Mountaineers, who scheduled a manageable home slate to open the campaign prior to the Fort Myers Tip-Off next week, saw things go off track in a 73-65 upset loss to Monmouth on Friday.

West Virginia will try to get things corrected when it hosts Jacksonville State in Morgantown, W.Va., on Tuesday night, though interim coach Josh Eilert knows a lack of depth may continue to play a factor.

“We’re definitely struggling with a lack of depth trying to keep fresh legs out there,” Eilert said following Friday’s loss. “When you don’t have fresh legs, it’s definitely going to be a struggle.”

Six Mountaineers played at least 25 minutes, with only two others combining to add seven minutes off the bench. As the game wore on, Eilert saw West Virginia (1-1) go from 40 percent shooting in the first half to 24.3 percent in the second.

Center Jesse Edwards paced the team with 16 points and 13 rebounds, finishing 6 of 11 from the field. He’s second on the team in scoring (14.5 points per game) and is one of just two players shooting better than 40 percent from the floor after two games.

Jacksonville State (1-1) isn’t having the same kind of offensive struggles the Mountaineers are, averaging 85 points an outing, but the Gamecocks can relate to the experience of wanting to rebound from a tough loss, having dropped an 81-79 decision in overtime to Utah Tech last time out.

Xavier transfer and leading scorer KyKy Tandy ripped the Trailblazers for 23 points in that loss.

It was the defense that was the problem, surrendering 45.6 percent shooting, including a 9-for-18 performance from deep.

“We looked like a basketball team with a lot of newcomers,” Jacksonville State coach Ray Harper told the Anniston Star.

After Tuesday’s game, WVU begins play in Fort Myers, Fla., with a matchup against SMU on Monday.

–Field Level Media

FLM Direct-Baller
FLM Direct-Baller
Field Level Media was founded by sports media executives with more than 40 years of combined experience working with the most influential media companies in the industry.
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