CANCUN, Mexico—On the Eve of Thanksgiving and Oscar Tsheibwe’s 20th birthday, the Mountaineers shocked the Wichita State Shockers and will leave Cancun as the Cancun Challenge Champions. The men’s hoops team topped the Shockers in a 75-63 win Wednesday night.
For a team that won just 15 games last season, going into their December schedule undefeated is definitely something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Not only is the record something for the team to be thankful for, but the team itself is a reason to give thanks. The day after Miles McBride led his teammates to victory in a second half win over Northern Iowa, freshman Oscar Tsheibwe was the star of the show in Wednesday night’s win over the Shockers.
Tsheibwe’s 20th birthday performance ended with 19 points, 18 rebounds and being named the tournament’s most outstanding player. A good night in Cancun for the 20 year old, indeed.
Gabe Osabuohien scored his first two points in the Old Gold and Blue during the first half of the game, stopping an 8-1 Wichita State run. The Mountaineers never trailed past 2-0 early on in the game, and went into halftime up 27-19. Sean McNeil was two of three for three-pointers on the night, with eight points on the night.
The Mountaineers were the embodiment of team players in the second half, with Tshiebwe and Emmit Matthews, Jr. going for a combined nine points to get their team up 44-36 with just under 15 left to play in the championship game. From there, it was all West Virginia and the players knew it. The fans present in Cancun and watching on their televisions saw something that hasn’t been seen in a while; Mountaineers playing basketball, winning and having fun. In comparison to last season, it was a breath of fresh air.
The Mountaineers sent the Wichita State Shockers home with their first loss of the season and the Mountaineers head back to Morgantown still undefeated.
The Mountaineers play host to the University of Rhode Island on Sunday, December 1 at 2:00pm. Rhode Island defeated the Mountaineers last year in the Hall of Fame Showcase and if the way these Mountaineers are playing is any indication; they’ll be looking to have a sweet helping of post-Thanksgiving revenge.