MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– For West Virginia, the struggles continue on the hardwood.
On Saturday afternoon, the Mountaineers dropped their fourth straight to Oklahoma State at home. The loss came just days after Bob Huggins’ team blew a 21-point lead against Kansas State in Manhattan.
Against the Cowboys, Huggins benched two of his veteran players and gave the playing time to several freshmen, including Trey Doomes.
“I want to get Trey in and he deserves to get in,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “It’s hard when you haven’t played, it’s hard. He had a couple breakdowns defensively that hurt us. It’s hard to run anything with him and Derek in there because they both really haven’t been around that long. I thought Emmitt (Matthews Jr.) was okay. We just have to keep working with them and hopefully try and get them better.”
Despite suffering the loss, the Mountaineers took some positives away. WVU averages 15.4 turnovers a game but on Saturday they committed just six.
Culver played in just the sixth game of his collegiate career recorded his third double double, finishing with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Doomes didn’t score in his debut. However, he did grab two boards and dish out an assist in the eight minutes of action.
Both Culver and Doomes provide energy the Mountaineers desperately need.
It was poor shooting that hurt WVU on Saturday. The Mountaineers shot 39 percent from the field and 21 percent from beyond the arc. Most of the offense came from Beetle Bolden’s 31-point performance.
Esa Ahmad and Wesley Harris were both healthy scratches.
Ahmad’s play has been volatile at times. He has committed 43 turnovers this season, including a costly one on Wednesday night.
“All of those guys are like my kids, just like all of the guys that I’ve had in the past,” Huggins said. “As a parent, sometimes, you want more for your children than they want from themselves. That’s a very frustrating situation to be in. I expect more from those guys sometimes than, I don’t want to speak for them. I don’t want to say what they expect from themselves, because I don’t know that. But we have to all be on the same page. We all have to be working for the same goal.”
Despite not seeing the court in the last game, Huggins doesn’t hold grudges and the two upperclassmen can earn playing time this week.
“We’re going to practice tomorrow at 1:00. I would assume (the pair will have a chance to earn their way back onto the court),” Huggins said. “I don’t have a doghouse. You guys think I’m mean and I have a doghouse. I’ve never had a doghouse. But I am, at times, a very frustrated parent.”
While there is still a lot of learning and growing pains ahead, the youthful WVU team is slowly taking a step in the right direction.
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS