It was an action-packed, and at times depressing, weekend for WVU football and basketball fans. Now that we’ve been able to breathe and take it in, let’s go back through it.
The Mountaineer men’s basketball team took care of business Thursday against Monmouth, so let’s start the weekend on Friday. That’s when weekend start, right?
Bob Huggins’ boys took a loss at the hands of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. This was a back and forth game. The said thing about this game was a case could be made that West Virginia may have just lost to a better team.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins: "We're not near as athletic as Western Kentucky."
— Brad Stephens (@BradBGDN) November 17, 2018
Despite holding Western Kentucky to 32 percent shooting from the field and 22 percent from long distance, West Virginia was not able to get the win. The Mountaineers shot 33 percent from the field and 24 percent from deep. With James Bolden in foul trouble, Bob Huggins got very little production from his backcourt. Despite fouling out, Beetle Bolden had 10 points to go with five turnovers. Esa Ahmad “led the way” if you want to call it that, with 12 points to go along with five boards and four turnovers.
Turnovers and free throw attempts were the difference in the game. West Virignia had 22 turnovers, compared to 13 for Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers went 27-34 at the free throw line compared to 15-19 for the Mountaineers.
To compound the issue, Western Kentucky was easily handled by Central Florida in the Myrtle Beach Invitational title game.
This takes us to Saturday afternoon in Stillwater. The Mountaineer football team took on Mike Gundy along his majestic hair and his Oklahoma State Cowboys football team.
How was I unaware until today of Mike Gundy's resplendent mullet? pic.twitter.com/ObrXS6ohT3
— Minakowski ????️ (@clminakowski) November 11, 2018
The first half went well. Dana Holgorsen and the boys went into the locker room with a 31-14 lead. Everything was going as planned. All they had to do was come out of the locker room and step on Oklahoma State’s neck and it was time to start preparing for the Black Friday showdown with the Sooners at Mountaineer Field.
Coach Dana Holgorsen went for it on fourth down and Will Grier rushed it in from six yards out to put the Mountaineers in front 41-31 with 7:37 left in the game. West Virginia was in prime position to get the win.
No need to tell you what went down from there. But I will anyway. Oklahoma State scored, got a stop and scored again.
A key moment was when Dana Holgorsen was set to go for it on fourth and six on the Mountaineer 49. David Sills V jumped offsides, making it to where the Mountaineers need 11 yards for a first down, forcing Holgorsen to punt.
There was a lot of questioning with regards to Holgorsen going for it on fourth down so much, but given the way his defense performed in the closing minutes, it’s hard to question the decisions. Oklahoma State was going to get to the end zone whether it was from 50 yards out or 80.
West Virginia went for it on fourth down three times, getting it twice. The time they did not get it, they missed out on a field goal. One of the times they went for it, it resulted in three points, instead of seven. So they gained four points on one of the decisions and lost three in the other. That’s a net positive of one. Hopefully you followed that.
CBSSports : RT CBSSportsHQ: Upset.
— Sports Fan (@sportsfanman24) November 18, 2018
The Mountaineer sports weekend ended on Sunday on a happy note with West Virginia taking down St. Joe’s in men’s basketball. This was a Mountaineer basketball team that was missing guard Beetle Bolden. This was a totally different team. They shot 50 percent from the field and 52 percent from long range while only committing 12 turnovers.
Lamont West led the way with 27 points including seven three-pointers. Sags Konate had 15 points and nine boards. Wesley Harris had 13 points.
A key moment in the game was in the first half when a frustrated Bob Huggins benched Esa Ahmad after some poor play from him. Ahmad stayed engaged on the bench and came back in the second half for some of his best play of the season. That may not be saying much seeing how he’s played thus far, but he did contribute this incredible block.
Esa Ahmad with the block for West Virginia ????
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) November 18, 2018
The Mountaineers won by a final score of 97-90.
— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) November 18, 2018
So where are we after the weekend of Mountaineer sports?
When it comes to football, the only thing that changes is West Virginia is eliminated from the College Football Playoff. West Virginia controls their own destiny when it comes to the Big 12 Championship. Beat the Sooners and a rematch with Texas awaits in the Big 12 title.
As far as the basketball team, this is a work in progress. There are some pieces in place that can lead to this team getting to the Big Dance, but Bob Huggins has his work cut out for him. Hopefully these teams in the Myrtle Beach Invitational are better than expected. If these are all bottom dwelling teams, this could be a tough season for Huggins and the boys.