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THE SHOTGUN THROWDOWN: Mountaineers head to Charleston Classic

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

NCAA Basketball: Oakland 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.

WVU HOOPS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

The West Virginia men’s basketball team has traveled to South Carolina for the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic. WVU will start the early-season tournament tonight by facing a 2-1 Elon team that has wins over Bluefield University and Randolph College and a loss to Florida.

#22 St. Bonaventure and Boise State will get the day of basketball started in Charleston. Temple and undefeated Clemson will play the second game, followed by Ole Miss and Marquette, who are both undefeated. The Mountaineers and Phoenix will wrap up the first day of the tournament. If WVU wins the opening game, it will face the winner of the Ole Miss and Marquette game.

On the offensive end, the Mountaineers will likely be relying on their experienced guards Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil. Sherman is leading the team with 17.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. McNeil is averaging 11 points and three assists per contest. Senior guard Kedrian “Keddy” Johnson will be facilitating the offense at point and WVU will also look to sophomore forward Jalen Bridges to contribute with his team-high 55.6% three-point percentage.

On defense, fifth-year senior Gabe Osabuohien will come off the bench to provide a spark for WVU. Osabuohien will bring intensity and defensive pressure and will hopefully stay out of foul trouble so he can stay on the court longer than he did in the Pitt win. Keddy has also been contributing on defense, with his team-high 5.5 steals per game.

Tonight’s game is scheduled to tip off at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. It may be slightly delayed if the prior game runs late, but don’t count on that and be ready to cheer on the Mountaineers as they start a run to another early-season tournament title.

SEASON-OPENING BLOWOUT WIN

The #22 West Virginia women’s basketball team absolutely annihilated Saint Francis in its season opener. The Mountaineers held SFU to single digits in three quarters and scored 20 or more points in three quarters to cruise to an 86-33 win.

Junior forward Esmery Martinez led the way for WVU with 19 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard KK Deans was right behind her with 18 points and also has seven steals to lead the Mountaineers defensively. Three more WVU players scored in double figures and head coach Mike Carey was able to play 12 different Mountaineers. Coming into this season it was expected that depth would be a strength for WVU.

The Mountaineers return to action Friday night when they host Kennesaw State. That game will start at noon ET and will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

WEST VIRGINIA ROUNDUP

  • Two struggling football teams are set to face off on Saturday afternoon. West Virginia is hosting Texas, in what many believe could be the Longhorns last game in Morgantown for the foreseeable future as a result of conference realignment. Both teams come into the game with 4-6 overall records and 2-4 marks in the Big 12. The Mountaineers are slight favorites heading into this one and part of that is because the Longhorns will be without running back Bijan Robinson due to a season-ending elbow injury.
  • The West Virginia rifle team has finished the fall portion of its schedule with a perfect 9-0 record and a spot at #3 in the national rankings. The Mountaineers will return to the range in January with a few more matches before they look to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
  • True freshman Kaden Prather showed that he can be a valuable wide receiver for the West Virginia offense moving forward. In WVU’s recent loss to Kansas State, Prather had four receptions for 60 yards, including a 32-yard reception, and also recovered teammate’s fumble to keep a drive alive. He now has over 100 yards on the season with just seven receptions, resulting in a 15.1 yards per catch average.

AROUND THE BIG 12

  • The #8 Texas men’s basketball team won the opening game of the Abe Lemons Classic, with a 62-49 victory over Northern Colorado. The Longhorns will also face San Jose State and California Baptist in this event that they are hosting.
  • Oklahoma State battled NC State to earn a 74-68 win at the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase. This was the second of two games for the Cowboys at this event. OK State defeated UMass Lowell, 80-58, in the first game.
  • The Kansas State men’s basketball team remains undefeated after defeating Omaha 79-64. Sophomores Ismael Massoud and Nijel Pack each had 15 points for the Wildcats.

AROUND THE NCAA

  • The struggles continue for the Big Ten’s ranked basketball teams. #10 Illinois and #4 Michigan both lost their Gavitt Tipoff Games earlier this week. The Fighting Illini lost to Marquette, 67-66, and the Wolverines fell to Seton Hall, 67-65, at home. The Big East has a 4-2 lead over the Big Ten in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Now, #20 Maryland has also lost in a 71-66 game at home against George Mason.
  • UConn destroyed Long Island, 93-40, on Wednesday night. Senior forward Tyler Polley came off the bench to lead the Huskies with 17 points. West Virginia will host Connecticut on December 8th as part of the Big East-Big 12 Battle.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Who should be the 2021 NFL MVP? Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady is looking like he might lead the Buccaneers back to the Super Bowl, while Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has the Cowboys poised to make a playoff run of their own. Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson is also helping the Ravens win games with his dual-threat capabilities.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled at the start of the season, posting an 8-8 record. Star center Anthony Davis has an explanation for the Lakers’ woes: “we suck.” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith also joined in on the discussion, stating that LeBron James has won his last NBA championship.

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