Teamwide Effort, Performance Making Teddy Allen And WVU A Difficult Out
SAN DIEGO — West Virginia has won a number of games this year with only three or four players performing at peak efficiency. When that number climbs, as it did in both of the Mountaineers’ NCAA Tournament wins in Sand Diego over the weekend, so too do the odds of a victory.
“I think we came out and played hard. If you play hard, that’s what you can control,” freshman Teddy Allen said.” If we play hard as a collective whole, we are a tough team to beat. When we have three or four guys scoring, we are a tough team to beat.”
While the Mountaineers did play hard, it wasn’t due to any of the animosity that is overhyped, and often caused, by some media outlets. Allen, who was getting his first exposure to the West Virginia – Marshall meeting, sensed no difference in it from any other Big 12 game.
Of course, there were only some 400 Herd fans, and probably 800 West Virginia fans, clustered on opposite diagonals of Viejas Arena from each other, so the atmosphere wasn’t anything like it has been in the Charleston Civic Center, where relatively the same ratio of Mountaineer and Herd fans, only with a zero added on the end of each figure, convened in past seasons.
“Nah man,” Allen said dismissively when asked if he sensed any extra zip from the Herd. “It’s March Madness and they were trying to advance just like us.”
Allen also credited the fact that West Virginia went with a different look in its press after the first few minutes of the game. The tactics have that move have been covered in other articles here, but Allen felt that the change itself was also a defining factor.”
A lot of teams have our press on tape so we just tried to switch it up, and tried to keep the ball out of the middle of the floor. We just turned it up on defense, and contested a lot of shots at the rim. They missed a lot of layups because we were contesting a lot of shots at the rim. That was key in that run.”
Marshall did have problems with both two and three point shots. In the first half, the Herd was just 5-11 on shots at the rim, and at least some of those were influenced by Sagaba Konate, Esa Ahmad, and Wesley Harris before the latter left with an injury. The Mountaineers finished with four blocks in the game, but probably changed twice that number by challenging shooters at close range.