MORGANTOWN — West Virginia walked out of the Suncoast Credit score Union Area on Wednesday evening with an 0-2 report within the Fort Myers (Fla.) Tip-Off and one big missed alternative to knock off Twenty fourth-ranked Virginia.
The Cavaliers sealed their 56-54 victory within the last seconds with two free throws and an enormous offensive rebound by Ryan Dunn in between them, however the Mountaineers had so many miscues over the primary 39 minutes that had been simply as essential as the ultimate seconds.
“We inform them on a regular basis now we have a really small margin for error, so that you’ve acquired to watch out,” WVU head coach Josh Eilert mentioned on his radio postgame present. “On the finish of the day, if we get a rebound right here and there, we’ve acquired a heck of an opportunity to win that sport.”
WVU (2-3) acquired loads of rebounds on this one, 41 of them to be precise, which was 13 greater than Virginia (5-1) completed with.
But with 2.3 seconds remaining, the Mountaineers couldn’t safe the sport’s most vital one. Reece Beekman made the primary of two free-throw makes an attempt to offer the Cavaliers a 55-54 lead, however his second try got here off the rim onerous on the proper facet.
WVU’s greatest rebounder, Jesse Edwards, was in place and had an excellent box-out on Dunn, however the shot got here off simply deep sufficient for Dunn to get within the air and snatch the ball away from Edwards, who was making an attempt to succeed in again over his head for the rebound.
Dunn was fouled with 0.4 seconds left. He additionally went 1 for two on the line for the ultimate rating.
It was the ultimate nail within the Mountaineers’ coffin, however there have been so many different factors to be made, or on this case, the truth that WVU went a very long time with no factors from anybody else apart from Edwards and teammate Quinn Slazinski.
Neither staff scored some extent greater than 4 minutes into the sport. Edwards lastly broke the drought with a dunk on an inbounds play on the 15:48 mark of the primary half. From there, it was actually him and Slazinski in opposition to the Cavaliers.
The duo scored WVU’s first 15 factors. By halftime — Virginia led 26-23 on the break — Edwards and Slazinski had scored 21 of the Mountaineers’ 23 factors.
Pat Suemnick got here off the bench to attain the opposite two, however no different WVU starter apart from Edwards and Slazinski scored a single level till there was 11:41 left within the sport.
“I regarded on the field rating at halftime, and Seth (Wilson) JoJo (Harris) and Kobe (Johnson) couldn’t make a shot,” Eilert mentioned. “We actually need to get Jesse as many touches as attainable, however the shooters have gotten to shoot. I informed them that, they should go on the market with confidence and make a shot.”
WVU additionally dedicated 16 turnovers that led to 18 factors for Virginia. Among the turnovers got here from merely getting the ball stolen away close to midcourt, whereas others got here off deflected passes or gamers slipping and falling and dropping management of the ball.
Edwards, who scored 17 factors and added 9 rebounds, picked up his fourth foul midway by means of the second half and was summoned to the bench, whereas Slazinski had a heated trade with Virginia guard Isaac McKneely that ended up with a double technical foul being referred to as.
McKneely, a former two-time West Virginia highschool Participant of the Yr out of Poca, completed with eight factors, however was simply 2 of 9 capturing from the ground.
Via all of that adversity, WVU was in a position to claw again into the sport. Trailing 40-33 with 10:22 remaining, Wilson knocked down two 3-pointers and Johnson hit one other one which gave WVU a 42-40 lead. Slazinski added one other three whereas leaning away from the basket and off balanced to tie the sport at 45.
“I attempted to instill some confidence in them at halftime and allow them to play slightly extra free,” Eilert mentioned. “Seth did a heck of a job and hit a few photographs there that actually turned the tides in our route. On the finish of the day, it was only a disappointment.”
Within the last moments, Slazinski, who completed with 17 factors and 5 rebounds, practically got here to the rescue when he was fouled whereas trying a 3, and he made all three free throws to tie the sport at 54 with 36 seconds left.
Virginia ran 27 seconds off the clock earlier than Dunn missed a 3-pointer, however Leon Bond got here away with the essential offensive rebound and acquired the ball to Beekman, who was fouled by Slazinski. Moments later, it was Dunn’s offensive rebound off Beekman’s missed free throw that ended any hope for the Mountaineers.
“I discussed to them that I used to be actually pleased with the best way they competed,” Eilert mentioned. “It sucks getting on that airplane and coming again 0-2. We do have numerous issues to construct on, however now we have no ethical victories. We’ve got to press ahead and settle for the challenges that now we have and attempt to win extra video games.”