MORGANTOWN W. Va- In the yearly charity exhibition game, the Mountaineers pulled away late from Duquesne Friday night, by the score of 78-70.
While early turnovers and errant passes plagued the Mountaineers late in the first half, the game gave fans plenty to look forward to for this year’s team, as West Virginia hosts Akron to start the regular season next Friday.
With many promising storylines headed into the 2019-2020 season, fans seemed to get a little bit of everything in Friday night’s win.
Fans that came to see the frontcourt combo of Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe went home happy, as they combined for 24 points and 22 rebounds.
Even with the production, the consensus among the team is that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“I feel like as a team, we’re taking steps in the right direction,” said Culver. “I don’t know if were necessarily there yet, but I feel like we know what we have to do, we just have to put it in play.”
Tshiebwe, the highly anticipated Mcdonald’s All American, proved he is just as good as advertised, recording a double-double in his first start, and leading the charge through the second-half with a 17 point, 14 rebound performance.
Off the bench, the Mountaineers proved their increase in depth since last season, with JUCO newcomers, Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil tallying 12 and 8 points respectively, giving a big boost off the bench for Bob Huggins.
McNeil, who has had a rollercoaster career to get to Morgantown, settled in during the second half and contributed 9 points in the second half once he found his groove.
“Things are starting to feel natural again, playing at this level. Time went on, and the game went on, and I think my play showed that,” said McNeil.
Although sloppy at times early in the first half, the Mountaineers finished the game strong while shooting 47% overall on the night.
On the Duquesne side, Tavion Dunn-Martin, the Huntington native, led the Dukes with 22 points.
The Mountaineers tip-off against Akron Friday night at 7:00. The game will be televised on AT&T Sportsnet.