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Mountaineers Get Past Shooting Struggles in First Half, Defeat UNT, 62-50

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (December 11, 2020) — The No. 11-ranked West Virginia basketball team defeated the North Texas Mean Green, 62-50 on Friday afternoon.

WVU coach Bob Huggins was disappointed in the effort put-out by the Mountaineers against UNT.

“We just didn’t play hard,” Huggins said. “I can deal with missed shots and I can deal with missed free throws, but I cannot deal with not playing hard and we did not play hard.”

“That was not my team out there,” Huggins added.

The Mountaineers (5-1) had to overcome an eight-point deficit at halftime, as their first-half performance was abysmal, shooting 26% from the field.

North Texas (1-3) was able to pick apart the WVU defense shooting 59% from the field. A lot of their first-half points came from getting back-door cuts for lay-ups as they scored 20 points-in-the-paint.

In the second half, it was a different story on both sides of the ball as WVU shot 54% and only allowed 21 points.

West Virginia started the second half on a 16-0 run, eliminating the halftime deficit quickly. Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman gave the Mountaineers a spark in the early parts of the second half that was needed.

From there, West Virginia was able to maintain a decent lead for the rest of the game and close it out with good defense behind Gabe Osabuohien and company.

McNeil led the Mountaineers with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 2-of-3 from downtown. The Kentucky native has scored in double figures three times already this season.

Off the bench, Sherman scored 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting.

Derek Culver once again had another double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Culver also finished with a block and a steal.

Oscar Tshiebwe struggled on the offensive side shooting 0-of-5 from the field. On a positive note, the sophomore forward stayed out of foul trouble and pulled down seven rebounds.

Coach Huggins expresses how his team has been struggling over the last few weeks.

“It’s been a long, few weeks,” Huggins said. “We practiced getting ready for Robert Morris and then Robert Morris can’t play. We wanted to play yesterday instead of today to give us a couple of days before we play on Sunday, and we couldn’t do that.”

“It hasn’t been easy, but it’s better than not playing at all,” Huggins added.

The West Virginia Mountaineers will get one day to rest up and prepare for the No. 19-ranked Richmond Spiders on Sunday afternoon. Coverage will be on ESPN and will start at 1 p.m.

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