Mountaineers Fall Short In Orlando, Battle Ejected

ORLANDO, FL.—-The West Virginia Mountaineers fell to the UCF Knights 72-59 and continued its woes away from the Coliseum going 0-7. The loss dropped WVU to 7-12 and 2-4 in the Big 12 Conference. Both teams entered the game with wins over ranked Kansas and Texas but the Knights prevailed with the victory improving their record to 12-6 and 3-3 in the Conference.

Jesse Edwards missed his ninth straight game since fracturing his wrist in the Massachusetts loss back on December 16. In all fairness WVU Coach Josh Eilert has not had a complete team thus far this season to compete in the best  basketball Conference (Big 12) in the country.

No WVU starter scored more than Kerr Kriisa’s nine points. Josiah Harris came off the bench to score a career high 15 points on five 3 point field goals to lead the Mountaineers.

RaeQuan Battle’s night ended with 10:52 left in the game when he was called for a double technical foul and was ejected from the game. Battle, WVU’s leading scorer, finished with just five points on 2 of 6 shooting. Mountaineer Coach Eilert took a moment to give Raequan a hug and some words of encouragement before he exited the game.

“He was frustrated and I understand his frustration, but he handled it the wrong way and he knows it,” Eilert said. “He popped off a couple of times and it warranted what they gave him. It’s a teaching moment. I gave him a hug. I told him I love him and said we’ve got to fix this.”

The Knights led by as many as 21 points near the midway point of the second half and never trailed after starting the contest on an 8-0 run. “When you dig that big of a hole, good luck trying to get out of it,” Eilert said. “We got disconnected in so many way offensively and defensively. We just weren’t clicking on all cylinders and working well together out there. ” Eilert added.

Sadly forward Pat Suemnick, coming off a career-high 20 points in the Kansas win, failed to score Tuesday night missing all six of his field goal attempts before fouling out late in the contest. “They (UCF) played downhill, and we were going side to side and that was probably the difference in the game,” Eilert added.

WVU will try to win its first road game of the year when they travel to Oklahoma State on Saturday. The game in Stillwater trips off at 2 p.m.,