|Field Goal %||45.5||42.9|
|Three Point %||50.0||36.7|
|Free Throw %||62.5||63.6|
The West Virginia Mountaineers (4-2) defeated the Rider Broncs (2-2) 92-78. This was another tough test for this Mountaineers squad. The Broncs returned six of their top players from last years MAAC regular season championship team. Although they had their struggles against a high pressure defensive team, West Virginia controlled most of the game.
Rider jumped out on top early 6-0 but West Virginia responded with a 9-0 run to take a three-point lead.
“We took three bad shots and hit the front of the rim – outlet passes I call them, because it starts a fast break, and all of a sudden we’re down 6-0. We’re good when we pass the ball, and we’re good when we actually sit down and try to guard. They drove the lane any time they wanted.” Described West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.
The Broncs put together a 13-2 run taking a 21-14 lead midway through the first half. West Virginia scored seven straight and a game tying three-pointer by Beetle Bolden capping off a 12-point first half by the junior guard.
Esa Ahmad led the charge going down the stretch of first half, scoring eight of his 12 first half points, along with Lamont West three straight threes as the Mountaineers outscored the Broncs 22-8 in the final seven minutes of the half.
Freshman point guard Jordan McCabe had eight assists on the night in 18 minutes giving a banged up Beetle Bolden some much needed rest and seemingly sparked the Mountaineers when he came in with just over seven minutes to play in the first half to help West Virginia close out the half.
“He (McCabe) played well in the first half. They have no clue how bad they hurt the team when they play out of team structure.” Explained Huggins. “They try and do things they can’t do and then they look like fools. But they can’t figure that out. So, tomorrow, we’re going to watch film. I’ll show them how bad they really look when they do those things, and how much better we look when we do the right things.”
Rider’s Jordan Allen started the second half with a three; however, a 13-0 run by the Mountaineers to start the second half broke open a back and forth game, and WVU had a 17-point advantage.
“We were playing pretty well, then we come down, throw it to them, really unforced. Then, everybody get’s to do their thing rather than do the team thing. We started out that way really.” Said Huggins.
West Virginia never relinquished their double-digit lead in the second half. Lamont West and Emmitt Mathews Jr lead the way in the final 20 minutes with 11 points. West finished the game leading all scorers with 20.
“It’s refreshing. He (Emmitt) comes in early and stays late. He’s the kind of guy that you want to coach. He listens, He never tries to make excuses.” Boasted Huggins
The Mountaineers take on Youngstown State this Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm est inside the WVU Coliseum.