Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd



So, it’s Monday morning after the Super Bowl that really wasn’t all that super unless you’re a New England fan. If you’re like me and had no dog in the fight, you may have preferred the Rams to take down quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick who have combined to dominate the NFL in the last 20 years. But there is no ill will from me toward the Patriots, they are on a remarkable run and totally dominated the Rams defensively in the 13-3 decision. And watching 5-10 Julian Edelman, a quarterback in college, abuse the Los Angeles secondary for 141 yards on 10 catches was impressive.

Moving on, the West Virginia University Men’s Basketball Team ended a three game slide with a 79-71 home win over Oklahoma on Saturday. West Virginia is now 10-12 and 2-7 in the Big 12 conference. It was the second game in a row the Mountaineers were without leading scorer Beetle Bolden who is nursing a high ankle sprain.  His return is not known.

Freshman guard Brandon Knapper more than picked up the slack coming off the bench to score 25 points on seven of 10 shooting from the field including four of six from beyond the arc. He was seven of nine from the foul line and made four of those free throws to ice the game in the final minute. Maybe Knapper’s best stat was that he committed just one turnover in 26 minutes of action.

Knapper’s biggest issue this season has been turnovers. Saturday was the only game all season that he played more than 10 minutes without committing multiple turnovers.

It’s been rumored for two seasons that Knapper, who had to redshirt last season due to a knee injury, had this kind of potential, but his turnover problems have kept him off the court for long stretches. Saturday’s effort is obviously a good sign, but I’ll hesitate before going all in. Two weeks ago I was very encouraged by the play of Jermaine Haley in West Virginia’s upset of Kansas, but the 6-7 point guard has yet to duplicate that effort. I hope we see more 25-point efforts from Knapper, but there probably won’t be many of those. Making some shots and taking care of the ball will suffice for now.

On a closing note, head coach Bob Huggins made a rather pointed remark regarding the Big 12 schedule makers. Following Saturday’s noon game the Mountaineers had to prepare for a Monday night game at Texas Tech, the longest league road trip the team has to make. He lamented that the league said they would work with WVU and its unique travel issues, but scheduling like this makes him question just how much help WVU is receiving.