by Jim Buzzerd
Monday’s plan was to watch the West Virginia University men’s basketball game against Oklahoma State then sit down and write about WVU’s two game road trip to open Big 12 play. As the final seconds of West Virginia’s second consecutive loss ticked off the clock I turned off the TV in the living room and proceeded to the room called the office. I fired up the computer and turned on Monday Night Football. I had to reboot the soundbar and by the time I had picture and audio, I saw the players from the Bills and Bengals were walking off the field.
That was over an hour ago. It took several minutes for me to figure out that Bills’ player Damar Hamlin had collapsed after making a tackle and CPR was being performed which is done when one can’t breathe on their own. ESPN showed player reactions, the players were devastated, and the ambulance leaving the field, but they have yet to show a replay of the play or anything that was going on after Hamlin collapsed.
Anyway, my plan to give thoughts on Mountaineer basketball was derailed by a few hours as I’ll type a few words then watch the info being reported, so I’m way behind and basketball information will be short. At 11:15 Monday night Hamlin was said to have a pulse but not breathing on his own.
I think every time I’ve mentioned the 2022-23 WVU basketball team I have said confidently that this team is much better than last season’s team. Granted the Big 12 is going to be a meatgrinder this season, especially on the road. After watching WVU lose 82-76 in overtime last Saturday and 67-60 to Oklahoma State Monday night, I must take a step back. I still think the Mountaineers are a better team this season, but the early results don’t leave me confident that their record will improve much from a season ago.
Against KSU the Mountaineers led by 14 early, 11 at the half. WVU trailed by as many as eight points in the second half before tying the game in regulation and losing in overtime. Shooting was horrible as WVU was 4-18 from beyond the arc and 20-38 from the foul line. Those are hard numbers to win with but mix in 20 turnovers and West Virginia ends up with a loss that should have been a win.
Monday was a little different in that the mountaineers trailed for most of the game and when WVU took their first lead at 53-51 a bonehead play by Eric Stevenson nipped the rally he created. In a span of 88 seconds Stevenson made three 3-point field goals the third of which put the Mountaineers in the lead. But Stevenson couldn’t just get back on defense, he had to gesture to the crowd and was given a technical foul.
So, OSU gets two foul shots, and the ball and Stevenson gets his fourth foul, and he would foul out a minute later. If Tre Mitchell isn’t this team’s best player, it’s Stevenson and he needs to be on the floor more, and the technicals are costing him minutes. I can’t find how many T’s he’s accumulated this season, but it’s multiple.
In the post-game show head coach Bob Huggins said if it happens again, Stevenson will no longer be a Mountaineer.