It's a great night to be a Mountaineer wherever you may be.... especially Puerto Rico. West Virginia never trailed the defending national champion #17 UConn Huskies and for good reason. The Huskies were shorthanded already going into this game and an announcement was made hours before tipoff that four more of Kevin Ollie's team was suspended due to violation of team rules. While many of these players are not significant contributors to the Huskies, they are still bodies. Bodies are exactly what UConn needed tonight in the teeth of West Virginia's full court press.
West Virginia was absolutely scathing on defense forcing 11 steals from their "40 minutes of hell"-esque approach. This constant pressure largely tired and frustrated the Huskies into making silly mistakes, but also caused the game to become much more frantic and chippy than your usual regular season college basketball game. Honestly, it could have very easily been a Big East conference game from days of yore. UConn stud point guard and former WVU commit Ryan Boatright could be seen chattering to multiple West Virginia players, but to no avail. By the waning minutes of the second half, the extracurricular became less and less frequent as the result became inevitable.
Another major talking point has to be Juwan Staten's tournament MVP performance. The senior point guard put in a long shift at 37 minutes resulting in 21 points in critical times where it seemed that the Huskies were on the verge of making a run. When Staten came out for a breather in the final minutes of the game, the Mountaineers proved to be even more impressive by opening up the long range jumpers.
The Mountaineers improve to 5-0 on the year and travel to the Charleston Civic Center to play VMI on Wednesday at 7:30PM ET.
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This is absolutely something we can be happy about. Crank it to 11.