MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (December 13, 2020) — The No. 11-ranked West Virginia basketball team handled the ranked matchup with the No. 19-ranked Richmond Spiders on Sunday afternoon, 87-71.
The Mountaineers (6-1) had one of their best halves in a long time in the first half, seemingly being able to do whatever they wanted against a great team in Richmond (4-1).
West Virginia was able to maintain breathing room after the mid-way point in the first half. Behind Deuce McBride, the Mountaineers scored 52 points in the half.
Jordan McCabe showed his improved shooting in the first half, hitting two-threes. Sean McNeil joined in on the party shooting 2-of-2 from three, as well.
Behind the shooting of McCabe and McNeil, the Mountaineers shot 66% from three in the first half.
WVU coach Bob Huggins knew the hot shooting would eventually come along for his team.
“Well they shot like that in practice pretty much all along,” Huggins explained. “I don’t think it was a matter of them looking like they were hot; they were just normal.”
“If we don’t turn it over and if we stop dribbling it so much, I think we can be a pretty good offensive team,” Huggins added.
With eight minutes left in the half, West Virginia was up by three. At the end of the half, WVU was up 22.
In the second half, the Mountaineers cooled down a little. At one point, they turned the ball over in four-straight possessions.
Still being up 20 points, coach Huggins was able to throw in Isaiah Cottrell, Kedrian Johnson and Jalen Bridges for quality minutes before conference play starts.
Coach Huggins wanted to play first-year players this week, but the Spiders’ offense prevented him from playing those guys more than he wanted to.
“We didn’t get some of them out enough,” Huggins said. “They’re (Richmond) a really good team and they’re so capable of making so many threes. I didn’t want them to make a run. So every time I thought they starting to make a run, I tried getting one of our veteran guys back in there and one of those guys out.”
The Spiders were able to out-score West Virginia by six in the second half.
McBride finished the game with 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting. The Cincinnati native also had five assists and three steals to go along with his great day.
Taz Sherman was second in scoring for WVU, finishing with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Sherman shot 66% from three against the Spiders.
Derek Culver once again had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. This marks the junior forward’s fourth double-double on the new season.
Oscar Tshiebwe had a much better day today, finishing with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting. The “Big O” finished the game with only one foul and was relieved about it.
“It feels great because when I’m in foul trouble, I play a little worried in my head,” Tshiebwe said. “It’s good to stay away from foul trouble because I can play hard all the time, and not have to think about picking up another foul.”
“It was good, I felt great today,” Tshiebwe added.
The West Virginia Mountaineers will get a couple of days off until Friday night when they play their first Big 12 game against the Iowa State Cyclones in Morgantown. Coverage will be on ESPNU at 9 p.m.