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THE SHOTGUN THROWDOWN: Gold-Blue Debut Review

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

NCAA Basketball: Florida at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

GOLD-BLUE REVIEW

The West Virginia men’s basketball team held the Gold-Blue Debut last weekend with the Gold Team defeating the Blue Team, 74-57. Sophomore Jalen Bridges led all scorers with 21 points and five made three-pointers off of eight attempts. The Fairmont native also led the Mountaineers with eight rebounds, four being offensive and four being defensive. Bridges was able to finish the 2020-21 season strong, after a slow start, and now he is showing that he is ready to step up his consistency and offensive contributions. During the offseason, Bridges worked on his ball-handling skills, off-ball movement, and finishing ability near the rim.

Mountaineer fans may also be pleasantly surprised with the offensive improvements of Gabe Osabuohien. The fifth-year senior is known for his lockdown defense and game-changing hustle plays, but he has been working on his shooting ability. Even WVU head coach Bob Huggins was impressed with the improvement that Osabuohien’s independent training produced. Gabe finished the Gold-Blue Debut with 10 points and one steal.

Another Mountaineer that will be providing a new shooting threat this year is Isaiah Cottrell. The redshirt freshman suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury last year, causing him to redshirt. Now Cottrell is back, and Huggins is hoping that he will be able to step up as a contributor for WVU on the offensive end. Cottrell made seven of nine shots in the Gold-Blue Debut to finish with 16 points. He also had two assists.

Other notable performances in the Gold-Blue Debut included senior Sean McNeil’s 16-point effort, newcomer Malik Curry showing his true point guard facilitation abilities with seven assists, and sophomore Taj Thweatt showing improvement to tally 14 points.

SOCCER UPDATE

Both the men’s and women’s West Virginia soccer teams were able to get back on the winning track in their last matches. After two draws and a loss, the #21 men’s team defeated Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan, 2-1, on Saturday. The first half was scoreless and WMU’s Aidan O’Connor scored the first goal of the match in the 72nd minute. Mountaineer senior forward Ike Swiger tied the match at 1-1 less than four minutes later, thanks to an assist from sophomore midfielder Ryan Baer. Sophomore midfielder Ryan Crooks then scored the game-winning goal for WVU in the 88th minute. The Mountaineers have a big matchup tonight when they travel to Lexington to face #6 Kentucky. Fans can watch the match on ESPN+.

The #21 women’s team ended its two-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over Texas Tech. Senior midfielder Isabella Sibley scored both goals for the Mountaineers in the final 20 minutes of the match. The first goal was assisted by junior midfielder Maya McCutcheon and the second was unassisted. WVU returns to action on Thursday at #25 Texas.

WEST VIRGINIA ROUNDUP

  • Kickoff times and viewing information for West Virginia’s upcoming football games against TCU and Iowa State have been set. WVU’s Big 12 road game at TCU this Saturday will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPNU. The following week, the Mountaineers will host Iowa State. That game will kick off at 2:00 p.m. ET and will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
  • The #2 West Virginia rifle team remains undefeated after a road win over #11 NC State. WVU sophomore Becca Lamb led all shooters with a smallbore score of 589 and an air rifle score of 597, for an aggregate total of 1186.
  • Junior Ceili McCabe led the West Virginia cross country team with her first-place finish at Wisconsin’s Nuttycombe Invitational. The team placed 19th out of 36 schools.

AROUND THE BIG 12

  • Then-#12 Oklahoma State remains undefeated after downing then-#25 Texas, 32-24. The Longhorns jumped out to a 17-3 lead, but the Cowboys outscored them 19-7 in the second half to earn the Big 12 road win. OSU is now ranked eighth in the nation, while Texas fell out of the rankings.
  • Baylor represented the Big 12 well in its 38-24 win over then-#19 BYU. BU senior running back Abram Smith ran for 188 yards and three touchdowns. The Bears are now 6-1 this season and moved into the national polls at #20.

AROUND THE NCAA

  • BYU wasn’t the only ranked team that was upset this week in college football. Then-#2 Iowa suffered its first loss of the season, as Purdue devastated the Hawkeyes 24-7. The Boilermakers were led by junior safety Cam Allen, who was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after his two interception and four tackle effort.
  • Then-#17 Arkansas lost to then-unranked Auburn, 38-23. In classic SEC fashion, the Tigers are now ranked #19. Then-#20 Florida was also upset by an SEC opponent, LSU, 49-42. The big win for the Tigers was quickly overshadowed by the announcement that head coach Ed Orgeron will not be returning next season. The last upset of the weekend was Utah’s 35-21 win over then-#18 Arizona State.
  • The game that most football fans will remember from this past week was the game between #12 Ole Miss and Tennessee, where the Rebels escaped hostile Knoxville with a 31-26 win. Volunteer fans were already worked up over the return of Mississippi head coach Lane Kiffin, who abandoned the Vols in 2009 after just one season at the school, and an unfavorable call late in the game sent Neyland Stadium into an angry frenzy.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith started in the place of the injured Russell Wilson for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night. Smith almost led Seattle to a road win against the Steelers, but an untimely fumble in overtime by Smith led to a game-winning field goal for Pittsburgh.
  • The Atlanta Braves have started the National League Championship Series with two walk-off wins. The Los Angeles Dodgers return home this evening to try to get their first win in the series.

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