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No. 15 WVU Wins First Game, Advances To Second Round

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (November 25, 2020) – The No. 15-ranked West Virginia basketball team defeated the South Dakota State Jack Rabbits by a final score of 79-71 on Wednesday night.

WVU coach Bob Huggins had a lot of praise for South Dakota State and the way they played.

“I think they’re really good,” Huggins said. “They’re extremely well coached. They make shots. They really do a good job at handling the ball and creating shots for one antoher.”

West Virginia (1-0) struggled the majority of the game to shoot efficiently, shooting 39 percent from the field and 25 percent from three.

What helped the Mountaineers secure the victory on Wednesday night was the smart play by the team. WVU only turned over the ball three times for the entire game.

Oscar Tshiebwe had two, quick early fouls in the first four minutes of game-time. The sophomore sat for the rest of the first half but returned in the second. 

From there, Miles McBride, Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman were able to get the buckets that West Virginia needed. 

Deuce McBride led away with a career high 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting. McBride seemed to be automatic from mid-range.

“The main part of my game has been pull-up jumpers and get to the foul line,” McBride said. “I just relied on it and the shots went in.”

McNeil started his first game for the Mountaineers in his colligate career. The Kentucky native scored 16 points against the Jack Rabbits. 

Sherman finished the game with 14 points off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting from downtown.

Derek Culver led the Mountaineers in rebounds with 14. The junior also finished the game with four blocks.

South Dakota State (0-1) was an annoying opponent for West Virginia as they stayed in the game the entire forty minutes. WVU’s biggest lead was 12 at one point, but SDST came right back to cut the lead down.

With a minute left, it was only a four-point West Virginia lead. A pair of layups by Gabe Osabuohien and McNeil sealed the game for the Mountaineers.

As the Mountaineers advance to the second round of the tournament, they will find out their opponent later tonight as VCU and Utah State play each other. WVU will play the winner of that game at 2:30 P.M. on ESPN.

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