If I told you the West Virginia Mountaineers offense exploded for nearly 100 points after turning in an awful performance against Western Kentucky just two days ago AND did it without their best point guard on the floor, would you believe me? You should, because that’s exactly what happened this afternoon in the Myrtle Beach Invitational third place game. The Mountaineers (2-2) beat the Saint Joseph’s Hawks (3-2), 97-90, to end their trip to South Carolina on a high note.
Bob Huggins inserted 6’7” point guard Jermaine Haley into the starting lineup in place of James Bolden, who was out for the game due to an injury, but it was Brandon Knapper that got the bulk of the minutes running the Mountaineer offense. Knapper finished with a respectable 9 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in 24 minutes in what has been his best showing in a West Virginia uniform, but the absolute star of the game was Lamont West.
West entered the game off the bench, and caught fire almost immediately. Lamont turned in a career high performance of 27 points, including 7-of-11 from beyond the arc, and gave the Mountaineers what they’ve desperately needed from him in their three other games this season.
Sagaba Konate finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. Wesley Harris and Esa Ahmad scored 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The key takeaways from this game is that West Virginia only turned the ball over 12 times, which is a big improvement over their first three games, and shot 79% (26-of-33) from the foul line.
The Mountaineers return to action next Saturday in Morgantown when they talk on the Valparaiso Crusaders. That game tips off at 2:00PM and will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh.