It was often ugly, as games against the West Virginia Mountaineers are wont to be. But it was a game that could have been had regardless. But we should have known after the third missed technical shot that this was not going to be a good night for Wildcats shooting the basketball.
The Wildcats first eight points came quickly, including the only three-point make of the night for the Cats, but after missing the last three technical shots, the Cats went into a six minute drought while WVU started to pull away and extended the first half lead to nine twice before the Cats battled back to within four with 4:48 to go. But WVU came back and pushed the lead back to nine at halftime.
And then it got worse. The Cats came out of halftime cold and confused, and scored only two buckets in the first five minutes while allowing WVU to push their lead to double-digits. The Cats started to fight back, and pushed the gap to only seven before WVU came out and started to put the game on ice. The Cats wouldn't get closer than nine the rest of the way on the way to a 15 point road loss to drop the Wildcats to 12-8, 2-6.
The Cats, excuse me Kamau Stokes, made ONE 3-pt FG on the evening, but sent 18 sort of at the basket. 1-18. This is the biggest reason the Cats lost this game.
WVU was whistled for two early technicals, back to back. The Cats had all the momentum at this point, and absolutely none after missing three of the four free throws.
The Wildcats dished out only nine assists to 19 turnovers. That's bad bad bad. Second biggest reason the Cats lost this game.
Player Of The Game: Dean Wade
Well someone has to get the nod here, and Dean Wade did enough on both ends of the floor to earn the nod. Dean nearly scored a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds, plus dished three assists and blocked two shots. He fought hard in the paint for rebounds, and hit three FT's to give the Cats an early lead.
Tigger Of The Game: D.J. Johnson
Note: Since HC Bruce Weber noted there are "a lot of Tiggers on this team," we're going to find that player that had an high-flying offensive play, stonewall defensive play, or a notable performance, and call them out here.
D.J. palyed well in his 18 minutes before fouling out. Notably getting three blocks and scoring eight points. But DJ gets the nod for another #PREDATORJAM.
Other Notable Performances
Justin Edwards led the Wildcats in scoring with 11, the only Wildcat in double figures. He was also credited with two blocks, but committed two turnovers and didn't dish out an assist.
Wesley Iwundu played a team-high 34 minutes, and committed a team-high six turnovers. However, he did get three steals and added four assists to slightly even it out.
Jonathan Holton had a double-double for the Mountaineers, leading the team with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He was joined in double-figures by Jaysean Paige with 11 and Nathan Adrian with 10.
1. Three point shooting was BAD
1-18 is terrible. Shots were short, long, wide, and just plain off all night after Kamau made the first one at the 18 minute mark in the first half.
2. This team is still young
These guys obviously got frazzled in a very tough road environment. When you are a young team and shots start falling early its easy to give up, but these guys still managed to continue to fight through the game long slump, and the game wasn't completely out of reach until the final couple minutes.
3. Even stats overall
While the three-point disparity was the deciding factor, the Cats and 'Eers were basically even across the stat board. The Cats shot slightly better from the charity stripe, only nabbed two fewer rebounds, and committed only one more turnover.
#EMAW takes a break from Big 12 play (along with the rest of the conference) to host Ole Miss in Bramlage Coliseum on Sat Jan 30th at 1:00pm CST. It's Hall of Fame weekend in Manhattan, as well as a Wildcat Weekend as the Lady Cats follow the men at 7:00pm.