Mountaineers struggle on the field, find their stride on the court

MORGANTOWN—If you were a WVU basketball fan this past weekend, then you were probably happy, while WVU football fans probably were not.

The two Mountaineer programs had different results in Morgantown as the basketball team moved to 4-0 on the season with a 69-44 demolition of Boston University, while the football team (4-7) dropped a tough 20-13 contest to Oklahoma State to end their 2019-20 bowl hopes.

Behind standout freshman Oscar Tshiebwe’s 21-point, 10-rebound performance, the Mountaineer basketball team continues to navigate their way through the Cancun Challenge, with a huge game coming up on Tuesday against the 6-0 Northern Iowa Panthers at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.

Northern Iowa, who comes into the contest fresh off an 88-66 win over Cornell College on Wednesday, has four players currently averaging double digits in scoring and a fifth player who averages 9 points per game. The Panthers are outscoring opponents by an average of 12.3 points per game and have wins over Old Dominion, Northern Illinois, Cal State Bakersfield, Northern Colorado, Tennessee-Martin, and Cornell College.

The Mountaineers seemingly have their deepest team in years, with four of their players also averaging double digits in scoring with seven other players scoring at least three points per game. WVU is outscoring opponents by an average of 11.8 points per game this season and on the defensive side of the ball, rank 30th in the nation in total rebounding (42.3).

The ‘Eers are coming off a win against Boston University in which they dominated the Terriers in almost every major statistical category including field goals (27), field goal percentage (44.3%), assists (13), rebounds (37), offensive rebounds (12), steals (13), blocks (6), and turnovers (10).

Tipoff for the Northern Iowa game is scheduled for 8:30pm and will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network. The Mountaineers will then take on either South Carolina or Wichita State in the final game on Wednesday night. That contest will also be televised.

The Mountaineer football team also played this past weekend with hopes of making a postseason bowl under first-year head coach Neal Brown.

WVU (4-7) came into the contest needing to win their last two remaining games against Oklahoma State and TCU to become bowl-eligible.

After losing their previous five Big 12 games, WVU traveled to #24 Kansas State and shocked just about everyone but themselves, defeating the Wildcats by the score of 24-20 and keeping their postseason hopes alive.

Fast-forward ahead to Saturday as the Mountaineers faced the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who came into the game ranked #21 and winners of three in a row. Although the Mountaineers took a 10-7 lead in the locker room at halftime, they weren’t able to secure the victory as Oklahoma outscored the Mountaineers 10-0 in the fourth quarter to secure the 20-13 victory.

Although WVU quarterback Jarrett Doege was effective throwing the ball (28-38 for 307 yards and a touchdown), the Mountaineers again had trouble moving the ball on the ground, gaining a total of 26 yards on 32 attempts. The Mountaineers have now gone 26 straight quarters (6.5 games) without a rushing touchdown.

WVU has one more chance to improve on their win total as they travel to Fort Worth, Texas on Friday to face the TCU Horned Frogs (5-6). The Horned Frogs would become bowl eligible with a win over the Mountaineers.

Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 4:15 p.m.


© 2020-Mountain Statesman

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