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RaeQuan Battle is again on the upswing, WVU ends dropping skid with 77-67

MORGANTOWN — In his personal phrases, RaeQuan Battle mentioned it’s been a curler coaster of a season for him, crammed with extra peaks and valleys that may be discovered within the West Virginia mountains.

“I really feel like I put loads of pointless weight on my shoulders, particularly after the Kansas recreation, as a result of it was so enjoyable,” Battle mentioned. “We have been all on our excessive horse then. As soon as I went to UCF, they only punched me in my face, actually. It was a lesson realized. I needed to flip it round.”

The WVU senior guard did simply that Tuesday, because the Mountaineers ended a four-game dropping streak with a 77-67 victory in opposition to UCF contained in the Coliseum.

BOX SCORE

“It was important at this juncture,” WVU head coach Josh Eilert mentioned of ending the dropping skid. “It’s important to get that confidence and have a number of days to prep earlier than we head out. We have to see one go down on the highway, that will be much more important for our confidence.”

Battle’s recreation was a night-and-day distinction from WVU’s journey to Orlando earlier within the season that become a 13-point loss in opposition to the Knights.

He was pissed off after which ejected that night time, having had two technical fouls referred to as on him.

The second time round, Battle scored 24 factors, hit a few 3-pointers, added 5 rebounds and survived a tough slap to the face, as UCF tried to bully the Mountaineers (9-17, 4-9 Large 12) as soon as once more.

This time it didn’t work, as Battle took care of his enterprise and Jesse Edwards (15 factors, 10 rebounds) took care of his.

“I assumed their guys have been very lively,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins mentioned. “I believe the addition of Edwards undoubtedly helps their crew and provides them a real low-post presence offensively and defensively.

“I assumed the younger man Battle performed very well for them on the perimeter. He did a very good job of giving them a steadiness, so they’d a pleasant inside-outside presence.”

Right here’s what Battle is doing: His final three video games have seen him common 23.3 factors, which is barely outdone by the primary three video games Battle performed in a WVU uniform this season, during which he averaged 27.3 factors.

The distinction is now Battle has Edwards accessible as a working mate.

“There’s undoubtedly much less concentrate on every of us, as a result of we now have all of the items we wished,” Edwards mentioned. “No one can actually simply hone down on certainly one of us. It makes it simpler to run your offense and it makes it much more enjoyable.”

The sport featured two fascinating moments for the officers, during which two goaltending calls have been finally overturned retroactively after replay opinions.

One went in opposition to WVU and one went in opposition to UCF (13-12, 4-9), however each got here after the sport had already continued. The overturn of WVU’s goaltend didn’t come till halftime, taking two factors away from UCF whereas each groups have been within the locker room.

“They’re simply ready for a lifeless ball to allow them to overview it,” Eilert mentioned. “I’d assume they’ll, as a result of they did. I would love them to overview loads of issues.”

When you can return in time and alter a goaltending name, how about going again to 2008 and altering Patrick Ewing Jr.’s block on the buzzer on Da’Sean Butler’s lay-up?

“I do not forget that vividly,” Eilert mentioned.

Getting again on monitor, if Battle is once more on the upswing on that curler coaster, what does that imply for the Mountaineers?

For Battle, he mentioned it means he’s discovered a supply of inside peace nearly, that he doesn’t need to exit and power up a bunch of loopy pictures simply to place factors on the scoreboard.

“I simply needed to chill out and play the sport I’ve at all times performed,” he mentioned. “I needed to cease over pondering. At instances (it’s straightforward to try this). While you’re on a four-game dropping streak, I had to have a look at these video games and show-out night time in and night time out.”

For the primary time because the Jan. 13 victory in opposition to Texas, the Mountaineers held a double-digit lead in a recreation.

Quinn Slazinski added 14 factors, 4 assists and 4 rebounds, whereas Kobe Johnson and Josiah Harris every scored eight.

Darius Johnson led UCF with 29 factors, however the Knights have been held to only 9 of 38 (23.7%) from 3-point vary.