Wheeling Jesuit stood no chance against the WVU basketball team on Saturday. The Cardinals probably felt the same way going into the exhibition bout.
The game, which the WVU basketball team won 98-50, was an opportunity for WVU head coach Bob Huggins to try some new things and work with a young lineup. Many starters received rest while the bench players took over to get much-needed experience.
West Virginia has decent depth this season and by a lot of these backups seeing more time on the floor against Wheeling Jesuit, there is a better chance that they’ll be ready when and if the time comes for them to play more later in the season.
The WVU basketball team’s star player is Jevon Carter and even though he played for more than 20 minutes in this game, the most of any regular player, he kind of sat back and watched his other players develop. Carter only scored two points, but he dished out seven assists. The team plays better when Carter is on the court, there is no doubt about that. His presence alone allows the Mountaineers to find their rhythm and attack on offense. His tenacity on defense is a great way to lead by example. He only had one steal on defense, which was mostly predicated on the WVU basketball team’s choice to let the Cardinals bring the ball up the court.
Teddy Allen led the Mountaineers in scoring with 19 points. Three other WVU basketball players reached double figures as Lamont West and Wesley Harris each scored 16 points. D’Angelo Hunter, a junior transfer, had his best game since joining the Mountaineers this season with 12 points.
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Wheeling Jesuit, one of the better teams in all of Division II did its best to keep pace with the Mountaineers early and only trailed by 17 at halftime. The Mountaineers scored almost half of their points in the paint, which is where West made his home. Starting big man Sagaba Konate appeared for just 13 minutes and still poured in nine points.
The WVU basketball team needed this game to fill a big void in the schedule. Without playing Wheeling Jesuit, there would have been a long layoff before West Virginia’s next game, which is coming up on Wednesday against Coppin State.
The game not only prepared the WVU basketball for the future by playing the young guys, it also allowed Huggins to give back a bit to the state of West Virginia. He usually enjoys playing a preseason game against another in-state school, like Fairmont State or Glenville State. And now, with Marshall no longer on the schedule, this is the only opportunity for different parts of West Virginia to truly come together in the name of basketball.
After Coppin State, the WVU basketball team faces Fordham before another extended break. After Christmas, it’s time for conference play. The Mountaineers start the Big 12 slate with a road game against Oklahoma State.