Just days after falling in heart-breaking fashion to No.3 Kansas, freshmen Beetle Bolden and Lamont West are saying all the right things as the Mountaineers try to regroup and make a run down the final stretch of the regular season.
Bolden, who has come off the bench and provided an offensive spark for the Mountaineers over the last few contests, has seemingly grown up right before the very eyes of Mountaineer fans. The freshman point guard was used sparingly at the beginning of the conference play, but has earned the trust of head coach Bob Huggins since scoring 17 in a win against Oklahoma. While Bolden's outside shooting (the freshman is hitting 47 percent of his three-pointers) has been a lightning rod for West Virginia as of late, the freshman's sole focus is on helping the Mountaineers improve and win games.
"I just want to help my team win in any way I can," said Bolden. "Whether it's on defense or offense. I have to stay ready for when coach calls me and when he does I have to go in there and produce."
While Bolden knows what he must do individually to help the Mountaineers, he also knows what West Virginia must do to finish the season off the right way, and that starts by defeating Texas Tech when it comes to town on Saturday.
"We have to change ourselves because (in the previous contest against Texas Tech) we didn't come out with that edge that we usually have," said Bolden. "We're going to change that standpoint from our point of view and hopefully compete and get up and down the court."
The Mountaineers have looked much better on the defensive side of the court and played near flawlessly until the final three minutes of Monday night's loss to Kansas. But despite the Mountaineers' late game collapse, Bolden feels that West Virginia will be fine and use it as competitive fuel going forward.
"We honestly feel like we should have won the game," Bolden admitted. "It game down to a couple of possessions and we were kind of scrambling mentally. We looked at it from a learning point and we're going to use it to our advantage to win some other games in the future."
Lamont West, who has also shown the ability to get hot from behind the arc from time to time, echoed Bolden's sentiment but noted the Mountaineers can't dwell on the past.
"We know that we have to keep winning and we can't keep looking at the past," said West. "(Texas Tech) is a big game for us because we lost to them last time and we're looking to beat them."
The revenge factor was one that played dividends in West Virginia's victory over Kansas State, but it is yet to be seen whether it will play into Saturday's contest against a Texas Tech team that has yet to win a conference match-up on the road. Entering the contest, the two freshmen are saying all the right things. Now, it's a matter of taking care of business.