Not seeing the light
by Jim Buzzerd
In addition to the realization that the West Virginia University Men’s Basketball Team is missing key elements that are hindering their progress this season, the Mountaineers haven’t been lucky either. Late Monday at Baylor, West Virginia gave an undermanned Baylor team all they could handle in an 81-77 loss which extended the Mountaineers’ losing streak to six. It was the kind of game WVU fans had been waiting for with Taz Sherman going off for 29 points and Sean McNeil showing good support with 16.
With Sherman on fire WVU was able to lead most of the second half by as many as 10 points and nine points twice. With the game tied at 66 and 3:32 left a game changing, and possibly season changing, injury occurred when Sherman suffered a concussion.
Watching on TV it was difficult to understand how the contact from Jeremy Sochan was significant enough to cause a concussion. Sochan had just committed a turnover and as the teams moved up the court Sochan came from behind Sherman and reached in for a steal attempt. Sherman went down and play continued as no foul was called.
Sherman stayed down in obvious discomfort. While trainers attended to him ESPN showed replays which, honestly, did nothing to help me understand what happened to Sherman. I could see Sochan’s open hand make contact with the side of Sherman’s head and face, but it looked like a glancing blow, and again, it was an open hand, not a fist. A foul seemed warranted, but it didn’t look like anything flagrant.
Nevertheless, when head coach Bob Huggins did his post-game interview with Tony Caridi, he confirmed Sherman had a concussion. It seemed obvious he was displeased his star player could get concussed and not have a foul called. Of course, at that time nobody knew if, or when, Sherman could return.
When Texas Tech came to the Coliseum five days later for Saturday’s game Sherman had not cleared concussion protocol and was unavailable. There are indications he might have been available for Tuesday’s home tilt with Iowa State. With no Sherman Saturday, West Virginia lost to the Red Raiders 60-53 and extended their losing streak to seven games.
Folks, if the Mountaineers can’t get a win against Iowa State at home, the losing streak could get quite ugly because with out some transformation of the team, winning a game on the road seems quite unlikely and the home court advantage has been absent.