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Derek Culver Named to Wooden Midseason Top 25 Watch List

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Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Football

WVU Football Experiences Significant Improvement in Year Two Under Neal Brown

West Virginia took its first major step this year in its climb under second-year coach Neal Brown. The improvement the Mountaineers made in 2020 was across the board, most notably in the win column where it finished two games above .500 at 6-4. Canceled nonconference games against 2-6 Florida State and 2-3 Maryland because of the COVID-19 pandemic could have easily made it an eight-win season, a good indicator where Brown has the program headed.

WVU QB Austin Kendall enters transfer portal

After leading the West Virginia football team to a comeback victory over Army in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, quarterback Austin Kendall has entered the transfer portal. The redshirt senior appeared in two games for the Mountaineers in 2020 and still has one extra year of eligibility remaining due to the NCAA granting relief to all fall sport athletes.

Men’s Basketball

Culver Named to Wooden Midseason Top 25 Watch List

West Virginia junior forward Derek Culver was named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List. Culver is currently averaging a double-double with 13.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. The dominant Mountaineer big man is also shooing 50% from the field. While Culver moved onto the Wooden Award Watch List, former WVU forward Oscar Tshiebwe has fallen off the watch list due to his lackluster effort before quitting on Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers.

Comeback win marks another milestone for Huggins

In his 39th season as a head coach, and 14th season at West Virginia, Bob Huggins has reached another major milestone. Monday’s 87-84 comeback win over Oklahoma State was Huggins’ 300th victory at West Virginia. The only other head coach to win 300 or more games at WVU is Gale Catlett, who led the program from 1979-2002.

Three Guys Before The Game – Stillwater Stunner (Episode 258)

For a second straight game, #14 West Virginia battled back from a significant deficit, and this game will go down as one of the great comebacks in Mountaineer basketball history. WVU overcame a 19-point deficit in the final 11 minutes to stun Oklahoma State 87-84. On this episode of “Three Guys Before The Game,” Tony Caridi and the crew try to put the “Stillwater Stunner” into perspective.

Memories of Great Mountaineer Comeback Road Victories

#14 West Virginia’s 87-84 win at Oklahoma State was not the first comeback road victory in WVU history. Take a trip down memory lane and recall some of the Mountaineers’ best come-from-behind wins, including the 16-point comeback that Jerry West led against Villanova at the Palestra in Philadelphia in 1958.

Johnson, Sherman lift Mountaineers in come-from-behind win

#14 West Virginia was in a woeful state for 29 minutes on Monday night against Oklahoma State when it fell down by as much as 19 points with 11:15 remaining in the game. Then the Mountaineers utilized a 20-7 run over a span of nine minutes to take the lead and hang on for the 87-84 victory.

West Virginia Athletics

Trio of Grapplers Rank Nationally

Three West Virginia wrestlers rank inside the top 25 of their respective weight classes. Redshirt junior Noah Adams opens the 2021 season ranked #1 at 197 pounds by Intermat, FloWrestling and The Open Mat. The Coal City, West Virginia, native was crowned a Big 12 champion a year ago, finishing the season with a 32-0 record. At 125 pounds, redshirt junior Killian Cardinale is at #12 according to Intermat and FloWrestling. Weirton, West Virginia, native Caleb Rea starts his junior season at #20 according to FloWrestling.

WVU athletics not allowing spectators through Jan. 24

The West Virginia Athletic Department will not allow fans at indoor WVU events through January 24th. The Mountaineers have been unable to host fans at winter sports events all season, and it is beginning to look very unlikely that the University will allow fans at any point this season, which is detrimental to WVU teams that rely on their passionate fans at home.

WVU to Make Appearance on ESPNU

The West Virginia gymnastics team’s dual meet at Oklahoma on Sunday, January 31st, will now be featured on ESPNU at 8 p.m. ET. The Mountaineers’ 2021 season starts with back-to-back competitions against 2019 NCAA National Champion and reigning Big 12 Conference champion OU.

Mountaineers in the Pros: Week 17

In Week 17 of the 2020 NFL Season, 10 former Mountaineers saw action. David Long Jr. started at inside linebacker for the Tennessee Titans and recorded eight tackles, with three being solo stops. Long saw action on all 63 defensive plays. Mark Glowinski saw action on all 67 offensive plays in the Indianapolis Colts’ win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Glowinski has played in every offensive snap this season.

Around the Big 12

Jones scores 23, No. 4 Texas holds off Iowa State 78-72

Andrew Jones scored a career-high 23 points and #4 Texas held off Iowa State 78-72 on Tuesday night. The Longhorns led by as much as 15 early in the second half and appeared to be cruising to an easy win over an Iowa State team that is still winless in conference play. But the Cyclones kept chipping away and made it tough for Texas at the end.

No. 6 Kansas gets 11th Big 12 road win in row, 93-64 at TCU

David McCormack had a season-high 20 points to lead five Kansas players in double figures, and the #6 Jayhawks beat TCU 93-64 on Tuesday night. It came only three days after a 25-point home loss to #4 Texas that matched the most lopsided win by an opponent in the 65-year history of Allen Fieldhouse.

No. 18 Texas Tech tops K-State 82-71 for 1st Big 12 home win

Sophomore guard Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 22 points and junior guard Mac McClung added 16, as the #18 Red Raiders beat Kansas State 82-71 on Tuesday night. Freshman Nigel Pack scored a season-high 17 points for the Wildcats.

OU’s Gibson Sweeps Men’s Basketball Weekly Awards

Umoja Gibson claimed both Big 12 Men’s Basketball Player and Newcomer of the Week after coming off the bench to lead Oklahoma to a 75-71 upset over West Virginia. These are his first Big 12 honors since transferring to OU.

Around the NCAA

Dickinson-led No. 10 Michigan routs No. 16 Minnesota 82-57

Freshman Hunter Dickinson scored a season-high 28 points as #10 Michigan pulled away and beat #16 Minnesota 82-57 on Wednesday night to remain unbeaten. The Wolverines had a 19-point edge in the second half after leading by just six points after a sloppy first half.

Louisville tops No. 19 Virginia Tech 73-71 in ACC showdown

David Johnson scored 17 points, including a crucial free throw with five seconds left, as Louisville emerged with a 73-71 victory over #19 Virginia Tech. The Cardinals are now 8-1 overall, with a 3-0 record in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

No. 21 Duke edges Boston College 83-82 without Coach K

#21 Duke lucked out and defeated Boston College 83-82 on Wednesday night, while head coach Mike Krzyzewski was sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols. Wendell Moore Jr. scored a season-high 25 points for the Blue Devils.

Barstool Fund raises over $18M for small businesses; donations quickly growing

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has launched the Barstool Fund to help struggling businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than $18 million has been raised to assist 74 small businesses until they can get back on their feet and numbers keep climbing.

NFL experts predict: Wild-card weekend upsets, QBs under pressure and Cam’s 2021 landing spot

This could be the wildest NFL wild-card weekend ever. There are six games on the schedule as the NFL begins its postseason march to Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida.

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