Although it was an exhibition game, there were several takeaways from their game against Penn State. With so many young, and new players on the team, the Mountaineers are going to need some of their more experienced members to step up until they can get comfortable.
One player who is ready to step into that role is senior Esa Ahmad. In his first public showing of the season, Ahmad finished with 25 points on 8-15 shooting, 1 3-pointer, and made 8 of his 12 free throw attempts. He also led the team, along with Sagaba Konate, in rebounds with 7. When asked after the game about his offensive performance, Ahmad said, “with losing JC and Dac, I gotta take that big step. I’m a senior this year, and I just want to step up.”
It was a chance for the new players to prove themselves, and a chance for Ahmad to cement himself in that leadership role. “I know I can score the ball, but at the same time, I want to create for others and open it up for them”, he said after the game. “Have to make sure we stay positive. We’ve got a lot of young guys, and we’re coming along, but still got a ways to go. Have to just stay on them, make sure they’re in the right spots, and just try to direct them out there.” Explained Esa
After a slow start, the Mountaineers found themselves playing catch-up for most of the game. “We started off sluggish, weren’t really rotating, not in the right spots. They were hitting a lot of threes, and we paid for it.” WVU was able to fight its way back in, but ultimately came up short. “It’s an exhibition game, we want to work on a couple things, but at the same time you want to win.”
With their first game of the season approaching on Friday, the Mountaineers have had several days to work out some of those issues as they prepare to take on Buffalo.