Mountaineer Men Back On Track, 70-57

MORGANTOWN, WV—The West Virginia Men’s basketball team got back on track Tuesday night with a 70-57 win over Jacksonville State at the Coliseum. The victory was keyed by Kobe Johnson’s career high 19 points and 19 points from forward Quinn Slazinski. The Mountaineers (2-1) rebounded from the poor shooting, 8 point loss to Monmouth last Friday night.

WVU’s zone defense (2-3) helped aid the Mountaineer’s offense. WVU shot 14 of 26 from the floor in the first half. They used a 14-3 run to end the half at 40-27.

“The zone was really good,” interim WVU coach Josh Eilert said. “They (Jacksonville) made some shots early but we stuck with it and it paid off.” The Mountaineer lead went as high as 19 points with 13:17 left before the Gamecocks went on a 10-0 run to cut the margin by eight at 61-53 with 3:56 remaining. It was the closest Jacksonville St. would get.

“I told everyone in the locker room that was a buy-in game,” Eilert said. “Everybody bought-in, and we had to turn the page and get that bad taste out of our mouth. Nothing in what we do is going to be easy with a short handed roster so we’ve got to execute our game plan to a tee.”

Center Jesse Edwards added 14 points and forward Josiah Harris contributed a career high 12 on 4 of 7 shooting. Johnson’s stats were : 7 of 17 from the floor and 4 of 4 from the charity stripe. He grabbed six defensive rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes of action from point guard.

“He was really solid,” Eilert said. “He was 7 of 17 from the floor and probably 3 of those were forced to get up, so he was probably about 7 of 14 when you look at it from a realistic standpoint.” Slazinski was effective with 6 of 10 from the floor, 3 of 5 from behind the arc, a team high 7 rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes.

“I never would have thought Jesse would only have six field goals and Kobe would have 17 field goal attempts but I’ll take a win however we can get it.” Eilert said.

The Mountaineers travel to Fort Myers Florida next Monday night  when it faces SMU in the opening round of the Fort Myers Tip-Off at Suncoast Credit Union Arena. The game will be televised nationally on FS1.