WVU basketball: Esa Ahmad hurts WVU against UK

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Esa Ahmad
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Esa Ahmad /

The WVU basketball team was missing one of its top scorers for the first half of the season. But when he came back, there is still some missing points.

Esa Ahmad hasn’t exactly helped the Mountaineers since returning to the squad for the Texas Tech game earlier this month. He performed well in the first two games since coming off his suspension, but against Kentucky he failed to deliver when he was out on the court.

Ahmad was 0 of 7 from the floor. He played 20 minutes, which was the fourth highest on the team. To have zero points from one of the most athletic guys on the floor is unacceptable. Once WVU head coach Bob Huggins took Ahmad out in favor of Teddy Allen, there results didn’t fare much better.

Allen had just one point in eight minutes of game action. He was 1 of 3 from the foul line and had one rebound and one assist. Ahmad did have four rebounds and turned the ball over once. The Mountaineers committed just six turnovers, while turning Kentucky over 16 times.

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The Mountaineers lost to Kentucky, 83-76, but led by as many as 17. There were huge scoring droughts in the second half that could have been rectified had Ahmad knocked down a few of the shots he is expected to make. This team is short on offensive talent and when one of the tabbed go-to scorers can’t come through, it’s hard for other players to fill the void.

On Saturday, Jevon Carter did an admirable job scoring 26 points and James Bolden was hot at several times as he hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.

Ahmad scored 18 points against Texas Tech and hasn’t matched that mark since then. West Virginia has lost four of its last five games since Ahmad returned to the lineup. The one win was an 86-51 win at home against Texas. In that win, Ahmad scored eight points.

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There are 10 games left in the regular season. West Virginia’s problems are now well-known and one of those problems might just be Ahmad, if he doesn’t find his scoring stroke in the next game against Iowa State.