|Points Per Game||73.1||75.7|
|Field Goal %||41.3%||45.4%|
|Rebounds Per Game||39.4||36.4|
|Assists Per Game||13.4||14.1|
|Blocks Per Game||3.5||2.2|
|Steals Per Game||6.2||6.1|
Tip-off: 7:00 pm est
Play-by-play: Tony Caridi
Commentator: Jay Jacobs
Location: Morgantown, WV (WVU Coliseum)
The West Virginia Mountaineers (14-20) meet the Grand Canyon Antelopes (20-13) Wednesday night inside the WVU Coliseum in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
This will be the first appearance in the CBI for the Mountaineers since its conception in 2007, while this will be back-to-back appearances for the Antelopes. WVU hasn’t hosted a home post-season game since 2007 in a win over NC State in the quarterfinals of the NIT.
The Antelopes are led by former NBA All-Star Dan Majerle, who is now in his sixth season at the helm. He’s compiled a 103-58 record, has never had a losing season under his watch and this is their fourth straight season with at least 20 wins.
Grand Canyon played tough against some of the better talent around college basketball. Despite the losses, they stayed within striking distance against a top 20 Nevada team and Seton Hall. Although, they didn’t pick up a win against any program currently sitting in the NCAA Tournament, there’s no question this is one of the tougher teams in the CBI.
“Their guards are playing well. They run really good stuff. They have great size. They have as good as size that we have played” Said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.
The Antelopes had a nice run in their conference tournament after finished third in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), however, fell short in the Championship game against New Mexico State.
Huggins reiterated how good this team has been all year not just as of late. “They’ve been good all year. They have a little more momentum right now, but they’ve been good all year. Dan does a great job of coaching and they run really good stuff. They play hard and their huge.”
Grand Canyon guards Carlos Johnson and Damari Milstead combine for 24.9 points a game and they create havoc with their mid-range game but will hurt you outside of the perimeter.
West Virginia surprised fans around the country with the upset win over then ranked No. 7 Texas Tech in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament
“I thought defensively we were much better. I thought we competed a lot harder. You know by and large we ran pretty descent offense.” Stated Huggins.
Don’t let that mid-major status fool you as Huggins stated a few times throughout his meeting with the media this team has a lot of size starting with starting center Alessandro Lever and forward Michael Finke coming in at 6-10.
Lever is the team’s best 3-point shooter at 36.0% and that will be a challenge for freshman big man Derek Culver having to go out and possibly defending the perimeter.
The Mountaineers have only had one practice since the Big 12 Tournament, but WVU guard Chase Harler stated that it’s been good, competitive and it’s the same energy level they had going into the post-season.
Grand Canyon Stats