Mountaineers Fall To Monmouth 73-65

MORGANTOWN, WV—-West Virginia Men’s basketball team (1-1)  suffered another cold night of shooting. This time, they fell to visiting Monmouth 73-65. Just as the Mountaineers were cold shooting in the first half Monday night against Missouri State, it happened again Friday night in both halves causing the loss.

“Our execution offensively wasn’t perfect by any means, but it seemed like we were getting pretty good shots and they just weren’t falling,” West Virginia Coach Josh Eilert said. “You don’t want to harp on it too much, but we had trouble getting that thing over the rim once our legs got a little bit gassed and that has a lot to do with shooting that basketball.” Eilert added.

Monmouth (1-1), used a 2-3 zone defense to slow an undermanned Mountaineer team that missed 25 of 32 three point attempts. Forward Jesse Edwards connected on 6 of 11 shot attempts but he was triple and double teamed whenever he got the basketball near the goal. Edwards’ other teammates were nowhere near efficient. Quinn Slazinski was 6 of 16, Kobe Johnson 4 for 11, Seth Wilson 3 of 11, Josiah Harris 1 of 12 and Ofri Naveh 1 for 5.

 “We’re definitely struggling with a lack of depth trying to keep fresh legs out there,” Eilert said. “When you don’t have fresh legs, its definitely going to be a struggle.”

Monmouth’s advantage jumped to 13 with 3:59 left in the game and again to 13 with 2:58 to go. Wilson gave WVU some hope when he hit a 3 with 41 seconds left to cut the Hawk’s lead 69-65 but star Xander Rice answered with two free throws and Jakari Spence got two more with 19 seconds left. Rice had a game high 30 points. He exploded for 20 points after intermission.

“We’ve got to be careful how we rep it in practice with such a short bench, but we’ve got to figure how to get matched up in transition,” Eilert said. “We had so many critical turnovers right when the game was starting to turn our way. We turned it over and gave them easy buckets.”

Jacksonville State will come to Morgantown Tuesday night for a game at the Coliseum.