The Red Raiders are coming off an electric game versus the Texas Longhorns at home Tuesday (Feb. 1). The crowd was jinto the game from the tip, which helped the Red Raiders to their 77-64 victory. Highlights from the game included Bryson Williams’s 16 points and four rebounds, and Kevin Obanor’s 17 points coming off of five threes.
The last time the Red Raiders faced the Mountaineers they came out on top 78-65. This game was here in Lubbock and our win was credited to Terrence Shannon Jr’s season-high 23 points and five rebounds. The main issue on defense was stopping senior guard Taz Sherman. This is a lot easier said than done because Sherman has been dominating BIG 12 teams with his difficult shot-making and high basketball IQ. He is second in the BIG 12 in points per game right behind Kansas’s Ochai Agbaji. (Editor Update: Sherman will not play today)
The Mountaineers are 13-8 on their season and 2-6 in the BIG 12 Conference. They find themselves sitting at the bottom of the BIG 12 standings, so they will be playing like they have nothing to lose. Their only two BIG 12 wins this season have come from Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Like I discussed earlier, the Mountaineers are led by Sherman with 18.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, a team-high 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Sherman is still shooting efficiently from all three levels with averages at 43.2 percent from the field, 78.3 percent from the free-throw line and 35.9 percent from three. The only other player for the mountaineers who averages double digits is senior guard Sean Mcneil. Mcneil averages 13.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.7 steals per game. He is a little bit of a better shooter than Sherman, with him shooting at 44.3 percent from the field, 79.5 percent from the free-throw line and 38.5 percent from three.
The Red Raiders’ keys to winning the game are very simple for this one. First, they have to play well not only on the road but in Morgantown. If you can say the Red Raiders have one weakness, it would be playing on the road. They are 1-4 this season in games we have to travel, but have one of the best home-court advantages in the country. Another key would be to stop the fast pace transition buckets that Sherman likes to create off of defensive rebounds. The hard part about West Virginia is their guards are very good rebounders, so they themselves can start fast breaks. It will be important for Mark Adams to get the Mountaineers to settle with their half-court offense.