West Virginia interim head coach Josh Eilert spoke on West Virginia’s performance in their 70-57 win over Jacksonville State.
Eilert emphasized tonight being a team win. He talked about this being a game where everyone had to buy in and that his team did just that in order to get the13-point victory.
“Everybody in the locker room had a lot to do with winning that game. It was a buy-in game in so many ways, we had to take Saturday off and gather ourselves a mandatory day off. Sunday, we spent a lot of time in the film room and really got down in the trenches of what we need to fix,” Eilert said.
Eilert was happy with his squad’s response, saying they figured out a way to win.
“We probably spent an hour in there and when we came out they responded. Theyresponded in a really good way. I mean I told them the approach and the energy and the enthusiasm and the way they transitioned from that loss, that’s the type of mindset we’re gonna have to have. We had two really good days of preparation. By no means was this a perfect game, but everybody bought into the game plan and figured out a way to win.”
Eilert’s team on defense used the 2-3 zone a lot to defend the Gamecocks. Eilert said that was a result of trying to rest legs as well as trying to just switch things up on the defensive end.
“We picked up a few things that we could just nail down, and we didn’t overcomplicate it by any means with it. We just wanted to pick two or three things, and most every kid has played a 2-3 zone,” Eilert said.
“So, it’s not like it’s crazy or unnatural, but there are things he’s given us that we can utilize, and we’ve kept it pretty simple. So, the main thing is trying to navigate those ball screens when they set those ball screens on those top guards. So, that’s probably the issue we probably could clean up the best.”
West Virginia got it going on the offensive end for the first time through three games this season. The Mountaineers shot above 51 percent from the field, and went 8 for 19 from beyond the arc.
This is a stark contrast to the 7 for 32 three-point shooting efforts from the Mountaineers in their loss last Friday to Monmouth, but Eilert said the offense was meant to go through Jesse Edwards tonight and it did.
“You look at the box score, the idea was to get Jesse (Edwards) as many touches as possible. He only got six field goal attempts, but he drew 10 fouls,” Eilert said. “He wasn’t stellar from the line, but that’s something he needs to rep out. The game plan was to play through Jesse, and we need to do that as much as we can because we get a lot better looks when we go inside out.”
Eilert added WVU’s zone defense was also able to contribute to their offensive success, as they could use their legs less on defense, preserving them and therefore being able to play quicker on offense.
“I think the biggest difference from tonight compared to the Monmouth game is we saved a lot of legs on the defensive end with a zone. We felt more comfortable tonight with the zone this week,” Eilert said. “It seemed to keep our legs fresh, so we were downhill and with pace and playing with pace on the offensive end and everything seemed to be clicking a little better.”
West Virginia heads to Fort Myers, Florida, for a two-game swing next week. The Mountaineers play SMU on Monday, and then either Virginia or Wisconsin on Wednesday.