Mountaineers Short-Handed

Another week, another bit of adversity for the Mountaineer men's basketball team. Heading into Saturday's 4:00 showdown at the Coliseum with Big East foe Boston College, the Mountaineers will be without one, and possibly two of its freshmen.

Forward Jerrah Young has flown home to Chicago to attend the funeral of his cousin, who was killed in a shooting on Tuesday. Another freshman, guard Tyler Relph, could also miss Saturday's contest with an injured shoulder.

"He looked okay in practice today, but a final decision won't be made until after our shoot around tomorrow," said head coach John Beilein.

That would likely leave two players who have played meaningful minutes, Frank Young and Patrick Beilein, to come off the bench, giving the elder Beilein a 7 man rotation. Frank Young is also a freshman.

While it seems at least probable that Relph will play, he left the Coliseum after practice Friday sporting an ice pack on his right shoulder. And if he can't play?

"Some guys better be ready to play 40 minutes tomorrow," the second-year head coach stated. "Guys like Joe and J.D."


Kevin Pittsnogle swears that Wednesday night's game against Marshall is behind him. The sophomore center/forward from Martinsburg was 0-10 from the field in 24 minutes of action.

"I had open looks, and hopefully tomorrow I'll knock them down," Pittsnogle said.

In last year's lone meeting with the Eagles at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Pittsnogle scored 12 points on 5-10 shooting.

Pittsnogle will likely start alongside junior D'Or Fischer for the second straight game, only this time Beilein would like to see both big men stay out of foul trouble, particularly in the games early stages.

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Perhaps the biggest challenge presented by Al Skinner's crew on Saturday afternoon will be his three-headed monster down low, led by 6'7" 265 pound sophomore forward Craig Smith.

Mountaineer fans will remember Smith from his 30 point coming out party last season against WVU. Joining Smith down low will be 6'8" 262 pound senior Uga Agbai, who red-shirted last year. Agbai is the only member of the Eagles to have previously played in the Coliseum, starting and scoring 9 points in BC's 96-65 win on March 3, 2001. Rounding out the three-headed monster is Nate Doornekamp, a seven footer whom Beilein recruited while at Richmond.

So how will the Mountaineers' front line react?

"We can't play down low with our hands and our upper bodies, we have to play with our feet," remarked Beilein.

It might take more than that to keep the Eagles from dominating the paint as they did a year ago, and without Jerrah Young to help inside, Fischer and Pittsnogle are facing a tough task as they try to help WVU grab their second conference win.

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