Waves Swamp Mountaineers

Friday night against Valparaiso, WVU was at least competitive for a half. Sunday's contest against Pepperdine was a blowout from the outset.

The Waves hit uncontested three pointers, drove with impunity and generally did whatever they wanted on offense in running up a 97-65 win over the beleaguered Mountaineers.

"We couldn't press them, we couldn't zone them, and we couldn't man them'" observed head coach Gale Catlett following the demolition. "We didn't play with any toughness. I didn't see any toughness at all (out of anyone)."

Even with a lineup geared toward the defensive end, WVU was unable to stop the onslaught.

"We put a defensive team on the floor to start the second half, and I thought for a little bit we did ok," Catlett said, noting that a couple of Pepperdine points during the opening moments of the second half benefitted from some fortuitous bounces.

However, the fact remained that Pepperdine outscored WVU 12-3 in the opening moments against the defensive lineup of Armstead, Schifino, Sally, Moss and Chan, and removed any hopes of a WVU comeback.

Head coach Gale Catlett has commented on more than one occasion that this team has been one of the worst he has coached defensively, and every facet of that statement was plain to see against the Waves.

WVU failed to get through simple screens, chased ball fakes, left shooters open on the three point line and treated Pepperdine ballhandlers as if they were laced with anthrax.

West Virginia was marginally better on offense than they were in Friday's ugly loss to Valparaiso, but still appeared disorganized and uncertain. Pepperdine overplayed the passing lanes and disrupted the Mountaineer offense enoght to hold every player except Chris Moss under double figures.

The Mountaineer coaching staff tried everything possible to get help for Moss, with John Oliver, Ales Chan and Chaz Briggs all getting time at the five spot, but nothing worked.

Yet another problem rearing its head was WVU's inability to convert easy shots. WVU had at least eight open layups and dunks that they failed to stick in the hoop, and with the offense sputtering as it was, lost opportunities such as those were impossible to recover from. Pepperdine's defense had something to do with that, according to Catlett.

"We didn't get many open looks. They played pretty well on defense."

WVU now looks to recover in the week before the Big East season opens, but that task appears tall at the moment.

"We're certainly not the same team that we were in New Mexico," Catlett said. "I thought we'd play a lot better than we did today."

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