MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Casey Mitchell scored 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead 21st-ranked West Virginia to a 56-46 victory over USF Sunday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum.
John Flowers and Kevin Jones also added 13 for the Mountaineers, now 13-5, 4-2 after today’s game.
“It wasn’t really pretty to watch from where I was sitting,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. "We’re not doing a very good job finishing around the rim and we’re going to have to do a better job of that.”
The Mountaineers led by double digits for a good portion of the game, their biggest margin being 16 three different times, the latest coming with 11:42 remaining in the game at 40-24.
Neither team shot the ball well, the Mountaineers 22 of 66 overall for 33.3% and just 2 of 11 from 3 for 18.2%. But USF (7-14, 1-7) was worse, making 16 of 51 overall for 31.4% and just 1 of 13 from 3 for 7.7%.
“I thought we guarded pretty well,” said Huggins. “We played point-drop for the majority of the game and I thought we played it pretty well, particularly when we made our run.”
Huggins was particularly happy with the way Truck Bryant defended today. Bryant also scored 6 and handed out four assists.
“This is the best job he’s done defensively,” said Huggins. “In point-drop I thought he really talked and got people where they were supposed to go and I think he did for the most part a pretty good job of getting us into offense.”
USF’s Augustus Gilchrist led all scorers with 20 points while grabbing 10 boards. He also turned the ball over six times.
West Virginia’s shooting struggles continued. The Mountaineers made 19 of 57 from the floor in the loss at Marshall and are shooting just 33.3% in their last two games.
“We don’t run offense,” said Huggins. “We’re at the end of the half and we get a switch with their big on our guard and we shoot a fall-away 3. We don’t take advantage of what we ought to take advantage of.”
The Mountaineers finished 10 of 16 from the free throw line after failing to shoot a free throw attempt in the first half.
West Virginia will need to find a remedy for its shooting woes quickly with Big East road games coming up next week at Louisville on Wednesday night and then at Cincinnati on Saturday.
“We’ve got two on the road this coming week that are big games for us because they are people that are right around the same area that we are (in the conference standings),”he said. “We need to be eighth or ninth in the league at a minimum to get into the NCAA tournament and we’re still trying to claw our way back up into that upper echelon where we think we belong.
“Everybody has got losses,” he added. “Syracuse is No. 3 in the country and they’ve got two losses in our league. We’d like to have won a couple more but we just need to go get a couple on the road this week. Two road wins would be huge for us.”