Conway, SC – The West Virginia Mountaineers closed out their trip to Myrtle Beach with a 99-90 win over Saint Joseph’s on Sunday evening. The head coach seemed pretty pleased with the teams overall effort and noted that they played together today.
Lamont West had a career night sinking seven three’s and 27 points. “We need him to do that. He’s not going to get 27 every time, but we need him to make open shots. I told him today, I felt like he was putting a lot of pressure on himself. He’s never really started, he’s always came off the bench and I just thought maybe bringing him off the bench he would feel more comfortable.” Huggins said on West.
Turnovers have been brutal for the Mountaineers throughout the first three games, but today West Virginia only turned it over 12 times, which is significantly better. Huggins was asked how he thought Brandon Knapper did in place of Beetle Bolden today, “I had a very stern talk with him at halftime because I didn’t think he was playing hard enough. Wes makes a terrific play in transition and the ball bounces all the way back to the top of the key and we don’t have anyone there and the first guy back for the last 35 years has been my point guard. I’m trying to find someone who won’t turn it over and who will play really really hard. I thought he played better in the second half and he played hard.” coach said.
After the first two games of the tournament the offensive approach changed a little with junior Sagaba Konate. Throughout the weekend he had been stretching the defense and making them defend at the top of the key as well as down on the block. Today, they went back to the power game with Konate and had a lot of success muscling around defenders. Coach was asked on what he feels is working better for them offensively, Sags staying underneath or stretching the floor and he responded, “I think he’s got to do both. They surrounded him in there and he did a great job of passing it out. You know, if he can get our other guys open, that’s pretty valuable. I don’t have a problem with him shooting it, I have a problem when he’s shooting it.”
True freshman Emmitt Matthews Jr. had not seen much playing time coming into today’s game, but today he logged 12 minutes finishing the game with 5 points and 2 rebounds. He seemed to be keyed in and was not overwhelmed. “He’s going to be a really good player. He could end up being a really good player this year. He’s a great kid and he works really hard. The best thing about Emmitt is that he doesn’t do a bunch of stuff he can’t do. He stays with what he can do and that’s hard coming from high school. They can do whatever they want in high school, I told him the other day Dorothy this isn’t Kansas.” Huggins said.
The Mountaineers will make the trek back to Morgantown to get ready to take on Valparaiso next Saturday at 2pm.