Snapshot of Temple game is what you’re going to get
Sagaba Konate didn’t play. Maciej Bender didn’t play. Lamont West was in for six minutes. Elijah Macon had three rebounds, no blocks and one steal. Brandon Watkins played 22 minutes and had three rebounds, no blocks, one steal and was 1-for-3 from the field.
Those were player capsules from the Temple game, where West Virginia trailed by 20 points at halftime, actually took a three-point lead and then lost, 81-77, to the Owls.
Unfortunately, that’s what you’re going to see from West Virginia’s inside players against a team that has some capabilities and won’t completely wilt against the pressure exerted by Javon Carter, Esa Ahmad, Tarik Phillip, Daxter Miles and Teyvon Myers.
Konate and Bender just don’t have the skills to play against any quality opponent. West, Watkins and Macon lack in so many areas.
And so the solid corps of players with more than one dimension is reduced to five people that might be trusted against the likes of Kansas, Baylor, Iowa State, Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas.
It’s press or be doomed by the failures of half court basketball on either offense or defense.
Carter, Phillip, Miles, Ahmad and Myers can all be scorers even in a half court type of game. Nobody else will show the consistency needed with their shot. But winning with a rain of successful three-pointers happens all too rarely.
Where can West Virginia fine solace and a well of winning water? Not at the foul line. Not from Nathan Adrian and his miserable three-point percentage. Not from Watkins or West or Konate or Bender.
It’s true that even the best of teams will have turnovers against the West Virginia pressure. But those teams won’t turn into a pillar of salt or a puddle of water, especially at home.
At least Ahmad has shown he can score and Myers should continue to be more valuable in his second year. With Manhattan in the rear view mirror, it’s on to Charlottesville and the unbeaten Virginia Cavaliers.
Virginia is missing four starters from the team that had a 29-8 record last year and defeated West Virginia, 70-54, along the way. After casting aside four lesser teams to begin this season, Virginia beat Iowa by 34 points and Providence by 11 in a tournament in Florida.
The Cavaliers played Ohio State on Nov. 30 in Charlottesville before seeing the Mountaineers tomorrow afternoon in still another home game for the sixth-ranked team.
London Perrantes is Virginia’s only returning starter. Darius Thompson and Marial Shayok have experience.
Virginia has no players averaging even 10 points a game after its first six wins.
Will the Mountaineers successfully pressure Virginia long enough to win in Charlottesville?
Players like Macon and Watkins will have to play because Virginia has three inside men who are at least 6-foot-10.
Macon and Watkins do little or nothing to help West Virginia’s press.
It’ll be up to Carter, Phillip, Miles, Ahmad and Myers over the length of the game to keep the Mountaineers afloat — the same as it will be when Kansas, Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas are seen.