The final score isn't indicative as to how close this game was for the majority of the game. Still, there were a handful of frustrating things. The turnovers late that caused the game to get out of hand. I found my frustrated as the team had a difficult time getting the offensive set started. WVU was taking away the initial pass and it seemed like the point guard had no option other than to pass the ball off opposite the top of the key. Seemed like WVU scouted that and that seemed to cause excessive dribbling out front and an inability to initiate the offense. I think I get frustrated too much, but it was maddening to see WVU deny the pass on the wing and the point guard seemingly has no options.
Here's head coach Chris Walker on why he changed the starting line up:
I was trying to jump start Dejan Kravic a little bit, I thought Kader Tapsoba could come in a provide us with a little bit of toughness but he didn't play as much as I anticipated and Dusty Hannahs had a sore knee and really wasn't mobile in walk through, and it actually ended up being a good thing because Ty Nurse played decent this game. As a coach you have to really rely on feel and for us right now it's really going to come down to who and what group you can put on the floor that you can run your offense with fluidity and you can get to the foul line and you don't turn the ball over. I told these guys that they will watch the Super Bowl tomorrow and the team with the most turnovers will probably lose the game because that's how crucial turnovers are.
BACKCOURT | Grade C
I am sure that HC Walker walks through the tape to watch Josh Gray over-dribble to start the game and start the offense. It's almost comical at some point. And those are really just the bad things. Gray does plenty of good things and if he could ever figure out a mid-range and three-point shot he would be incredibly tough to beat. Gray finishes around the rim, has a terrific stutter step and can beat his man off the dribble. Gray's just had a tough time making his shots beyond 12 feet. That's got to be his biggest goal for the offseason. Gray finished with 10 points, 5 assists, 4 turnovers and 3 steals. Ty Nurse got the start yesterday and he was fine. He made 3 of 4 and all 6 free throws. No assists and 3 turnovers. As a team, they finished with 13 assists and 22 turnovers. Not the fault of the guards, but just something to consider. Dusty Hannahs came off the bench, but didn't do very much. They said he has a sore hamstring and that stinks. Toddrick Gotcher continues to show up in the box score even if he doesn't get a ton of time. He makes an impact, one way or another. Daylen Robinson is starting to really struggle at the point as he had 3 turnovers in just 11 minutes (he also had 2 assists). Jamal Williams has got to be a better shooter if he's going to shoot from the outside or figure out how to be an offensive threat, but fade-away jump shots are not usually effective.
FRONTCOURT | Grade C-
No player had more than 5 rebounds, Dejan Kravic. Walker started Kader Tapsoba, but he only played 3 minutes. That was it. After that, it was your rotation of Tolbert, Jaye Crockett and Kravic. The color commentator was accurate in that the team has to figure out how to get their best player the ball. I think as the game was winding down, he mentioned that Crockett didn't really get a bulk of his points until late and that's disappointing. It's the one thing that separates certain players, which is the idea, within any offensive set, they have the opportunity to get the ball to their best player and if he doesn't touch the ball in a spot where he can make a difference, then something is amiss. That's the frustrating thing in watching Crockett. I'd almost be fine with Crockett taking 15 to 20 shots a night because I think it would open up things for the rest of the team. Kravic didn't start, but he did finish with 8 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, 1 turnover and 2 blocks. That's not a bad night.
COACHING | Grade C-
I felt like the pressure on the wings to initiate the offense was something that happened all too often. I'd really like to see Walker address something like that early. Eventually, the WVU defense on the wings lightened up, but to see such a long stretch of time where players have such a tough time getting anything started, there has to be another option for the point guard. Of course, with the point guards dribbling so much it makes it tough to initiate anything. The defense wasn't there this game as WVU shot 56% from teh floor and 55% from the three-point line. It feels like the plan was to let WVU shoot as they haven't shot well all year, but that certainly backfield as WVU made 10 of 18 three-point shots.
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