MORGANTOWN –The West Virginia Mountaineers opened their season last Monday, November 7, against Mount St. Mary’s men’s basketball team with a 76-58 win, marking Coach Bob Huggins’ 917th career win. Huggins was enshrined, earlier this year, in the Naismith Pro Basketball Hall of Fame for his high level of success and impact on basketball.
The first half of the game would see WVU take a commanding 28-12 lead with 1:54 left after a putback from sophomore forward Mohamed Wague on a missed three point shot from sophomore guard Seth Wilson. Wague would record 9 points and 9 boards, with a couple of steals and blocks added in his 20 mins of play. WVU would lead the half 30-18.
Fifth year forward Emmitt Matthews would lead the Mountaineers in scoring with 15 points shooting 60% from the floor and 100% from the line, Senior forward Tre Mitchell would also have a notable performance scoring 13 points, 9 of which were within the final 9 minutes of the game.
WVU’s second half would prove to be a challenging one as Mount St. Mary would contend well. WVU ultimately outscored their opponents 46-40 but the struggles would be noticed and highlighted by Huggins in the post-game interview.
WVU shot 49.1% on 57 shots while committing 18 turnovers. “I didn’t feel like we played very well,” noted Huggins after the victory, “We don’t guard the ball as well as we need to guard the ball.”
While WVU won the rebounding battle pulling down 45 total compared to Mount St. Mary’s 28, Huggins also highlighted much needed improvement in those areas saying, “we didn’t rebound it the way we’re capable of rebounding it.”
Huggins also highlighted areas of improvement with passing.
“Emmitt (Matthews) has a bad habit of putting it over his head and passing it,” said Huggins. “We just do dumb things.”
Mount St. Mary’s Head Coach Dan Englestad praised Huggins’ ability to motivate his team, even through their struggles in the win. “They’re going to play harder than anyone in the country,” added Englestad. “We matched their intensity and physicality for the most part.”
Senior guard Jalen Benjamin would lead the Mount St. Mary Mountaineers in scoring with 18 points in 33 mins of play, also shooting 70% (7-10) from the line.
WVU’s next home game will take place against Morehead State on Saturday, November 15, 2022, with tip-off slated for 7:00 p.m.