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After Another Blown Lead, Lineup Changes Coming

After Another Blown Lead, Lineup Changes Coming

After skyrocketing to No. 2 in the AP Top 25, the Mountaineers have lost four of five games. After another blown lead, Bob Huggins suggests lineup changes are coming.

The Mountaineers blew a 17-point lead against Kentucky. In four of their five losses WVU has held at least a 7-point lead in the second half. According to Coach Huggins a big contributor to this loss was getting dominated on the glass in the second half.

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“We got out-manned. We just got out-manned on the glass,” Huggins said while doing his post game interview with Tony Caridi and Jay Jacobs. “We got out-rebounded by sixteen in the second half. You can’t win (with that).”

Normally you can attribute a deficit on the glass to your big men. Sagaba Konate had a strong game on both ends. Bender and Routt competed about as well as you can expect. Without calling any specific names out Huggins calls out the forwards.

“Our forwards got their butts kicked,” Huggins said. “They absolutely got their butts kicked. The four of them.”

Esa Ahmad, Teddy Allen, Lamont West and Wesley Harris combined to go 2-of-16 from the field and pull down just 11 rebounds in 57 combined minutes. Now it appears Huggins is looking at using more three-guard lineups.

“Beetle (Bolden) has got to play more and some of those other guys got to play less or not at all,” said Huggins. “You got to contribute something. You don’t have to score, but you got to contribute something. We should have played Chase (Harler) more.”

Huggins didn’t pass on calling out the guards. He didn’t use a particular name but it seems he had one particular guard in mind when discussing the issue at hand.

“I got one guy 2-for-his last 22 from three, but continued to shoot them,” said Huggins. “He won’t anymore. He will not do that anymore.”

No one is exactly 2-for-22, but Daxter Miles is 2-for-14 from deep and 4-for-26 overall. It seems he is most likely the culprit Huggins is referring to. After the previous game Huggins did call Miles out by name for the same type of issue. Their could be less playing time for the senior guard moving forward.

While the Mountaineers are currently struggling, there is no reason to think they will not figure this out. This is a very talented team going through several transitions. Teddy Allen is in and out of the lineup. Esa Ahmad is being worked back into the rotation. Sagaba Konate is emerging as a go-to man on offense to go along with his outstanding defensive play.

That said, it’s about to turn to February. It’s time to figure it out and start putting some wins together. This past week with games at TCU and home vs Kentucky, you had to expect at least a split in those two games.

This coming week the Mountaineers are at Iowa State on Wednesday at 7 p.m.  and then Saturday at home against a very hot Kansas State teams. The Mountaineers will be favored in both games and a 2-0 week would do a lot to bring some stability to the season.

Sean is a writer and co-owner at MountaineerSports.com

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