The Mountaineers are welcoming a Mississippi team that is 10-1 and ranked No. 15. The only loss for the Rebels this season came at the hands of Villanova at Puerto Rico last month.
–Truck Bryant didn’t start tonight because of an issue with an injured ankle. Da’Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks handled the point early.
–John Flowers will make his third consecutive start. Watch his matchup because he played well vs. this team last season with 13 points and six rebounds.
–Great sign for the Mountaineers: Casey Mitchell–who had missed the last two games with a knee injury–was the first sub and he brought great energy. A big bonus came when Mitchell hit his first three point shot attempt. Mitchell seemed to be making up for lost time as he shot the ball five times in the first 9:30.
–Kevin Jones is coming off the best back to back offensive games of his career. Jones had a combined 45 points in the Cleveland State & Coppin State games. Need to get him involved.
–First Truck sighting at the second media timeout. Truck also hit his first shot of the game.
–Fouls piling up early on the Mountaineers. Butler scored the first five points of the game for WVU, but had to sit at the 10:00 mark after picking up his second foul. It was WVU’s 6th team foul.
–Incredible intensity in this one. Just like a Big East game.
–The Mountaineers will have to utilize the bench. Nine players have played in the first ten minutes.
–This is a team that the Mountaineers pounded on the boards last year. WVU outrebounded the Rebels 36–28 and WVU had 22 offensive rebounds in last year’s game. WVU has built a five point lead in this one by hitting the offensive glass again. Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks with back to back stick-back baskets.
–HUGE advantage with rebounds in the first half. WVU, at the 3:52 mark, had a 26-9 rebounding advantage. 14 of WVU’s boards are offensive rebounds.
–Some of halftime totals: WVU got 10 second chance points on 17 offensive rebounds. But Mississippi scored 12 points off of 10 Mountaineer turnovers. Both teams shot poorly. WVU at 32%, Ole Miss at 33%. Leading scorer Chris Warren had two points as he took just four shots. Look for him to come out firing in the second half. Butler scored all five of his points in the first 2:30. He sat for the final ten minutes. Look for the stars to come out in the second half.
–Great start for the Mountaineers and Wellington Smith in the second half as Smith knocked down a pair of three pointers in the first two minutes of the half. Cam Thoroughman was at the table to check in for Smith until he knocked down that second three. Thoroughman went back to the bench to sit down. Smith followed up the second three with a blocked shot at the Mississippi end.
–WOW! Wellington Smith with two more three point shots. He had four in the first 4:30 of the second half after hitting five in the first eight games of the season. The fourth three for Smith was set up by Mitchell who yanked down a one-armed rebound and started the break. Mitchell followed that up with a three pointer of his own to give WVU a 10 point lead at 46-36.
–Smith hit another three from the right corner at the 11:00 mark. It was his fifth of the half. Smith had never hit more than two threes in a game previously. He had never attempted more than five three point shots in any one game previously. Smith added a rebound basket at the 9:15 mark. He has a new career high with 19 points. Still 9:00 to play!
–The Mountaineers have handled the pressure much better tonight. Getting looks at threes out of transition as Smith, Mitchell, Butler & Ebanks have run to the corners to look for shots.
–WVU shot just 32% from the field in the first half. That is up to 60% in the second half. The Mountaineers hit 7 of their first 10 three point shots.