WVU Downs Mistake-Prone Kansas State Off Two-Week Break

West Virginia forward Emmitt Matthews (11) gets a shot away against Kansas State (Scott Weaver Kansas State photo)

West Virginia might have been expected to be a bit ragged in its Saturday afternoon game at Kansas State, coming as it was off a two-week COVID hiatus and continuing to work with different offensive systems. It was homestanding Kansas State, though, that looked like the team that hadn’t played in a while, as it committed 28 turnovers and shot just 38% from the field in the Mountaineers’ 69-47 win.

West Virginia jumped out to an early 21-4 lead, helped largely by nine Kansas State turnovers. The Mountaineers modified their starting lineup due to the COVID issues, with Jordan McCabe and Taz Sherman on the court at the tip in place of Emmitt Matthews and Sean McNeil. WVU head coach Bob Huggins noted that Matthews had lost a lot of weight during his down period.

Still, the three-guard look didn’t keep WVU from playing well early on.

“We played some of our best defense all year,” Mountaineer guard Deuce McBride noted. “We knew they were young, and when you can force a young team into a lot of hard situations, you can get mistakes and turnovers going your way.”

Although the Wildcats were able to claw back into contention at a couple of points, once cutting their deficit to just eight in the second half, this was a game which the Mountaineers controlled for the most part. After a couple of weeks in which they were down to just four available players for practice, that fact that they could put together a defensive effort such as this, even though it was against the team that will likely finish last in the Big 12, was heartening.

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“I felt really good about what we did defensively,” Huggins said of his team, which moved to 10-4 overall and 3-3 in the league with the win. “We wouldn’t be sitting here with three league losses if we had guarded in some of those games like we did tonight.

“The guys that got to work out were pretty good,” Huggins noted of the small group that could still get in the gym during the hiatus. “The guys that couldn’t because of COVID, they struggled. We just have to get those guys back in playing shape.”

WVU had five players in double figures, led by McBride’s 18. He hit four of seven 3-pointers, showing the results of “a lot of hard work” on his shot over the summer.  Sherman had 10, including a pair of threes that pushed West Virginia’s lead from the aforementioned eight-point lead back to 14 in the second half.

Jalen Bridges had a very consistent contest, maximizing his 16 minutes with 12 points, while Derek Culver and McCabe had eight.

Kansas State was led by Mike McGuril’s 15 points, but the only offensive help he received came from Selton Miguel, who had the first nine points of the second half as the Wildcats cut into West Virginia’s lead. He finished with 10, and also had five rebounds as K-State dropped its sixth game in a row to fall to 5-11 overall and 1-7 in the Big 12.

* * * * * *

The somewhat slow-paced game led to some odd statistics. WVU took just 50 shots in the game, while Kansas State had only 42. The Mountaineers finished with only 24 rebounds – a number that was also partially the result of 29 Kansas State turnovers.

Huggins wasn’t overly upset with the rebounding deficit – K-State had 37 – but did note that WVU’s guards have to help in rebounding, especially when opponents turn to 3-point shots, which usually produce longer rebounds. Fifteen of the Cats’ 42 shots were from 3-point range.

“It wasn’t our bigs. Out bigs can’t rebound it when they are shooting a bunch of threes,” West Virginia coach emphasized. “If we are going to play three guards or four guards, they have to do a better job of blocking out to help us.”

Acknowledgement came from Bridges, and it’s a message that will have to be reinforced in coming weeks.

“We definitely have to give D.C. (Derek Culver) more help down there,” he observed.

* * * * * *

West Virginia was assessed two technicals in the game – one for a deliberate trip by Seny Ndiaye during a dead ball, and another on Kedrian Johnson for a verbal exchange after he had scored a bucket.

* * * * * *

West Virginia next executes a quick transition, returning home for a Monday night game against Texas Tech at the WVU Coliseum. The 9 p.m. contest, one of six with that late start time on this year’s schedule, will be shown on ESPN2. The Red Raiders have seen their most recent two games postponed due to COVID issues.

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Home Page forums WVU Downs Mistake-Prone Kansas State Off Two-Week Break

  • This topic has 16 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated by wvucinci.
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  • #135701

    West Virginia might have been expected to be a bit ragged in its Saturday afternoon game at Kansas State, coming as it was off a two-week COVID hiatus
    [See the full post at: WVU Downs Mistake-Prone Kansas State Off Two-Week Break]

    #135713

    the 2 T’s were BS plays by 1st year end of the bench guys.  Kedy should know better.

    #135715
    JAL

    One nice thing was that every time K State cut the lead to single digits WVU quickly pushed it back to 13 to 15   WVU’s overall dominance was such that I never felt K State would catch up or take the lead.

    #135717

    We didn’t let a run by KSt get.to is.  We kept the pressure on.

    #135738

    Agreed JAL. I guess I’m looking at it two ways. One, is the way you say – WVU responded every time.

    But the other is that KState looked abysmal. Should have been a 30-point game in the first half. Felt like that pointed up many WVU shortcomings.

    #135746

    Thankfully Kansas State is just bad.  Athletes are there and young, but no chemistry, no understanding how to play as a team, and nobody at a level individually to go on a streak.

    WVU managed to win a game where Culver was irrelevant, but I would say most of this was due to the opponent we just played.  Needed a warm up game (no offense K State) to get back into the thick of it and Monday night is the biggest game so far this year.

    WVU needs a big win on its resume, especially at home.  Texas Tech is a very even match up with WVU.  I hope to see a powerful performance by Culver to help balance out the offense.  Tech plays stingy defense and has a very tough motion offense that’s unpredictable.

     

    #135757

    IMHO, Culver is being put in untenable positions in the offense. His stationary posting is both self defeating and team inefficient. He is constantly in a situation where he has to make tough, athletic moves through or around multiple defenders or attempt one on one drives from outside in awkward attempts! Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to move him around and get the ball off screens on the move. Or when posting, his handling the ball more than 2-3 seconds is a waste! In and out, quick reaction with a guard would give his movement more efficiency and also a better shot for the guard! Ne’st ce pas!? How about a high post screen and spin to the bucket?

    #135761

    We had 3 players combine for 14-21 from the floor.  We had 3 other combine for 3-17.  It is never the same 3 that shoot well or the same 3 that can’t piss on their shoes.  But our offense is never going to look smooth going 17-38 from those 6 players.  It is not that we need them to always  shoot 21-38 to win.  But we need them to shoot 21-38 frequently enough that the other team respects on shooters.  Time for those 6 to be good as a group all the time.  Past time.

    #135783

    TWENTY EIGHT turnovers tells you everything you need to know about Kansas State. WVU defense is top 10-ish, but not THAT good.

    K-State couldn’t dribble and chew gum at the same time. 

    After the 2-week layoff I  was delighted to see WVU’s performance, though, except for Culver. Felt bad for Derek. Him and McBride have been our twin lighthouses this season. But even Derek is allowed an off night.

    #135786

    Tony,

    We’ve discussed ways to get Derek into the post to avoid traffic and help prevent some double teams, but he is not a perimeter player, and is not going to be successful driving the ball off an outside screen. He’s a one- or two-dribble power move player, not someone that can put it on the floor from 18 feet like Deuce, Emmitt or Taz.

    #135797

    KK,
    going to be successful driving the ball off an outside screen. He’s a one- or two-dribble power move player, not

    Not sure how you got that impression from what I said.
    The gist or bottom line is that he would get better shots on the move, whether off screens or just being more open than posting among the trees! He’s frustrated in this offense!

    #135803

    It’s only been a hand full of games since the departure of Oscar.  The game style for Derek has changed from two bigs fighting each other for position in the paint to a 4 out motion offense.

    We need to chill and let Derek’s game transform.  He’s a great athlete and has shown the ability to adjust, learn from Huggs, Larry and Eric.

    #135809

    Butt:
    We need to chill and let Derek’s game transform. He’s a great athlete and has shown the ability to adjust, learn from Huggs, Larry and Eric.

    Translate please!

    #135822

    From my couch potato view the wholesale change from 2 bigs to a 4 out is a huge change.  Talking about the deficiencies of any player or even the whole team at this point is premature.  Culver’s role at the beginning of the year is much different than his role now because of the style of play that is forced because of the defection of Oscar and the injury to Cottrell.

    That being said, Culver has shown us that he has the athletic ability to play a different style.  He has a decent handle for a big.  He passes very well. He can go to his right and left equally well.  His shooting from more than 8 ft will develop with time as he learns how to play more facing the basket.  I may be more optimistic than most, but let’s see how this works out.  A lot also depends on how Emmitt, Jalen and Taj develop as a 3/4 hybrid.

    #135841

    Butt:
    Culver’s role at the beginning of the year is much different than his role now because of the style of play that is forced

    What exactly was that role with O and his role now? And how many minutes of a game were they in together? O seemed to spend a lot of time on the bench for various reasons. So Culver as a lone big ain’t nothing new!? And bye the way, not sure it’s your duty on the board to say what’s allowed and not allowed to be posted!

    #135843

    We didn’t play a 4 out at the beginning of the year.  We almost always had 2 bigs on the floor at the same time.  Culver/Oscar/Gabe/Cottrell.  With the defection of Oscar and the injury to Cottrell we seldom have 2 bigs.

    Who says anything about “my duty” allowing what is to be posted?  Where do you get that?  If you get that from me saying we need to chill, then you have very thin skin.  Sorry you took it wrong.

    #136004

    To reiterate, we had 3 go 14-21 and 3 go 3-17 against KSU.  Those same 6 went 14-25 and 11-18 from the floor against TT.  Against TT a combined 25-43 versus a combined 17-38 against KSU.  Well done group of 6, well done.

    Need to shoot at least the average of those two games every game.  Now, about your defensive play……

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Home Page forums WVU Downs Mistake-Prone Kansas State Off Two-Week Break

Home Page forums WVU Downs Mistake-Prone Kansas State Off Two-Week Break