Penn State, last year’s NIT champion, opened the game on a 10-0 run and never lost fully lost control. Still, WVU battled back - despite not having projected starter Beetle Bolden - and tied the game up with less than 30-seconds on the clock, before the Lions’ Lamar Steven’s tipped in the game winner to seal the game for Penn State.
It was the first game between the two former rivals since 1991. when Penn State left the Atlantic 10 to join the Big Ten and WVU eventually joined the Big East. The game was played as a charity event to benefit victims of recent Hurricanes that battered the southern US in September and October. Last year, WVU raised over $30,000 for a similar cause in a game against Albany.
Esa Ahmad led all WVU scorers with 23 points and added in 7 boards. Sagaba Konante, who spent most of the first half on the bench in foul trouble, added in 15 points, 7 boards and 3 blocks.
- Beetle Bolden did not play. His absence was noticeable for the WVU backcourt who struggled to run offense and had a couple of key turnovers late. It’s clear his presence will make a big difference.
- Penn State is a likely NCAA tournament team. Despite losing some key players from their NIT championship team, Penn State looked like one of the stronger teams WVU will play until they hit BIG XII play in January.
West Virginia opens regular season play Friday, Nov 9 at 9 PM on ESPNU versus Buffalo in Morgantown. Penn State faces off with North Florida, also on Nov 9 at 7:30 PM on BTN.