On a night when West Virginia University led by as many as 14 points in the second half and forced 24 turnovers, a lack of help defense and poor shooting allowed the LSU Tigers to climb back in the game and upset the 16th ranked Mountaineers at the buzzer as Josh Gray drove to the basket for the game winning lay-up with 9 seconds remaining to give the Tigers an improbable come from behind 74-73 victory in Morgantown. WVU would have a chance to win the game at the buzzer but Juwan Staten missed a short jumper and Tarik Phillip missed the tip before time ran out as the Mountaineers suffered their first loss of the season. In a back and forth first half, West Virginia would extend a 5 point half-time lead to 14 at 18:09 mark and appear to be on the verge of blowing the Tigers out. The lead could have been bigger as the Mountaineers missed several lay-ups, scoring only 3 points in more than 9 minutes that included 7:20 without a field goal, allowing LSU back into the game.
On the night the Mountaineers would force 24 turnovers, they were out-rebounded 44-35, failed to trap the right ball handler, doubled the wrong players and didn’t find the right guys on defense. Reserve Guard Tim Quarterman was the biggest beneficiary of the WVU miscues as he hit 8-14 shots including 3-4 from beyond the arc to lead the Tigers with a career high 21 points, more than doubling his season average of 8.8 points. Jarell Martin, LSU’s athletic power forward would dominate inside, drawing fouls to hit 8-11 free throws in scoring 18 points while grabbing 14 rebounds. Guard Keith Hornsby would add 15 points including 3-3 from beyond the arc. For the game, LSU shot 45.4%, including 8-15 three pointers (53.3&) and 14-18 free throws (77.8%).
Meanwhile West Virginia would continue their pour shooting, hitting on 23-67 shots (34.3%) that included several missed layups, 5-17 three pointers (29.4%) and 22-32 free throws. The poor shooting was frustrating to Coach Bob Huggins who said, “How many layups did we miss, 4 or 5 in the second half, how do you miss a layup? You know, we make a lot of free throws a day, how do you brick two free throws? Brick em, wasn’t close. We had a guy a foot from the basket, shot it 4 feet…They’re too good, they’re too talented to miss the shots we missed. It wasn’t a matter of us not getting shots, it a matter of we don’t make any. Our post guys have got to get better. We’re not shooting very well and everybody says well you don’t shoot very well, well look at our post guys. One of them is shooting 24%, two of them under 40 and the other one after today will be under 50.” Jonathan Holton hit 2-10, Devin Williams was 3-8 and Elijah Macon was 1-5. All 3 missed shots at the basket.
Juwan Staten had his own shooting woes, hitting only 6-19 shots in leading the Mountaineers with 17 points, Daxter Miles scored added 13 and Tarik Phillip came off the bench to score 12. Holton managed 11 boards on a night he would score 4 points while Williams scored 8 points but only had 3 rebounds. Forwards Brandon Watkins and Billy Dee Williams both saw their first action of the season playing 8 and 5 minutes respectively.
Saying the half-court defense has deteriorated as a result of players wanting to steal the ball, Huggins said fundamentals and poor passing contributed to the defeat, “You know, it’s crazy, the older I get the smarter my dad was, my dad used to drive me crazy cause it was all fundamental stuff you know. Being able to pass, catch, pivot, look at what you’re shooting at…fundamental things that we just don’t do very well.”
Clearly frustrated, Huggins said the lack of fundamentals was primary reason Gray had a clear path to the basket on the winning lay-up. “That’s something we guard every single day, and I kind of kick myself, I put Gary in and I probably had Gary on the wrong guy cause Gary knows what he’s supposed to do. That’s a flat screen, a flat screen the guards always taking right cause the guy’s right handed, the guard always take it right and the big takes left to sting him out until the guard can get back in front of him, and the guard jumped to the left. But even at that, I don’t know how you go shoot a layup at the top of the key and nobody helps.”
Huggins would talk about the Mountaineer shortcomings during his post-game press conference, stating he would use the film to highlight how bad the team is in certain areas but ended his press conference in saying
“ We’ll get better, they’re good kids, the positive thing about it is, they’re good kids; they are good kids and they listen really well…I tell them every day, we don’t have 5 guys better than Texas, 5 guys better than Kansas, we don’t have 5 guys better than Iowa State, I don’t think we have 5 guys better than Kansas State, but we got 10, 12, but you got to buy into that.”
That process begins Sunday when the Mountaineers travel to the greater Cincinnati area to take on Northern Kentucky at the Bank of Kentucky Center in Highland Heights, KY.
|Jarell Martin, F||39||5-13||0-2||8-11||5||9||14||3||1||1||7||5||18|
|Jordan Mickey, F||22||2-4||0-1||0-0||0||6||6||0||1||1||2||3||4|
|John Odo, F||17||1-2||0-0||2-2||1||0||1||0||0||1||0||1||4|
|Keith Hornsby, G||37||5-10||3-3||2-2||1||4||5||2||1||0||2||0||15|
|Josh Gray, G||32||3-7||1-1||0-0||0||4||4||7||3||0||8||2||7|
|Elbert Robinson III, C||4||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||1||1||1||1||0|
|Brian Bridgewater, F||1||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||0|
|Tim Quarterman, G||30||8-14||3-4||2-3||2||5||7||0||2||2||3||4||21|
|Jalyn Patterson, G||18||2-6||1-4||0-0||0||3||3||3||0||0||0||2||5|
West Virginia Mountaineers
|Jonathan Holton, F||32||2-10||0-4||0-1||4||7||11||3||4||1||1||3||4|
|Nathan Adrian, F||8||1-1||1-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||2||0||4||3||3|
|Devin Williams, F||18||3-8||0-0||2-4||2||1||3||1||1||0||1||2||8|
|Daxter Miles Jr., F||25||5-8||2-4||1-4||2||1||3||0||1||0||0||3||13|
|Juwan Staten, G||36||6-19||0-0||5-6||0||0||0||4||4||0||2||0||17|
|Brandon Watkins, F||8||1-3||0-0||0-0||1||0||1||0||1||2||0||0||2|
|BillyDee Williams, F||5||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Elijah Macon, F||13||1-5||0-0||2-5||1||0||1||0||0||2||2||1||4|
|Jevon Carter, G||12||0-3||0-3||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Jaysean Paige, G||13||2-5||2-3||0-0||2||4||6||1||2||0||0||0||6|
|Tarik Phillip, G||18||2-2||0-0||8-8||2||3||5||0||2||0||2||2||12|
|Gary Browne, G||12||0-2||0-1||4-4||0||1||1||2||2||0||0||0||4|
article photo courtesy of Tyler Evert register-herald.com
Written by BlueGoldSports.com staff writer Aaron Staats