The Mountaineers opened the game well, running their offense sets and scoring in transition to take an early 18-13 lead. After trading several baskets, the Huskies moved out to a nine point halftime lead, due mostly to poor West Virginia defensive execution. The Mountaineers allowed UConn to penetrate their 2-3 zone off the dribble and gave up a couple of transition scores as they wasted a fine first half effort. UConn scored the final seven points of the half to lead 46-37.
"We hung in the game, and we played well for seventeen minutes in the first half, but we turned the ball over, and that's been the story all year," interim head coach Drew Catlett said after the game. "We play well for a while, and it [our strategy] works, but then we lose focus and it falls apart."
UConn put the game away out of the gate by scoring the second half's first ten points to stretch their lead to 19, and from that point on the game devolved into a pattern that's all too familiar. Mountaineer missed shots were turned into unopposed fast breaks. WVU's halfcourt defense was sloppy. And as usual, Jonathan Hargett tried to take the game into his own hands by firing up ill-advised three point shots after UConn scores. Those bombs more often resulted in Huskie runouts that just worsened the situation.
The coaching staff's frustration with Jonathan Hargett finally boiled over after a failed attempt to dunk off a pass to himself off the backboard. After missing that dunk, Hargett was removed from the contest and sat out the majority of the second half.
WVU's defensive woes were again easy to see during the game. UConn penetrated the Mountaineer zone defense with ease and recorded 25 assists. The Mountaineers looked like Paul Westhead's Loyola Marymount teams of the 80s that eschewed defense in favor of getting the ball back with the opportunity to score again. Unfortunately for WVU, they don't possess the kind of offensive firepower necessary to make that sort of strategy work, even if it were sound.
WVU had five players in double figures, led by Chris Moss with 21. He was supported by Chaz Briggs with 12, Drew Schifino with 11, and Josh Yeager and Ales Chan with 10. Chan's ten points were a career high.
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