Pick Up

In the three halves of basketball played since West Virginia held a 17 point halftime lead over UCLA, the Mountaineers have had trouble putting the ball in the hoop.

In fact, in those three halves the Mountaineers have managed just 21, 20, and 32 points respectively. According to head coach John Beilein, there's nothing schematically different with the Blue and Gold cagers. Instead it's simply a case of cold shooting.

"If you look over the history since I've been here, you can probably count on one hand the times we made five or less threes and won a game. We were all over the place. We had an awful lot of balls go in and out, and (Marshall) had a few balls bounce their way," said fourth year head coach.

In order to correct the slump, Beilein gave his team a day off on Thursday before meeting up again for practice on Friday evening. Prior to Friday's practice, three Mountaineer players took part in individual shooting drills designed to get them back on track.

The day off between the loss to Marshall and Friday's practice was to both rest the team after their fourth game in a span of 11 days, but to help them regroup mentally after losing a game for the first time in nearly two months.

"We haven't lost a game in almost two months, so it hits hard. It hit the coach hard. Its one thing to lose to Marshall, but it's another thing when you haven't lost in a while," said Beilein.

Last season's loss to Marshall was the first of five consecutive losses for West Virginia. Beilein knows that from a mental aspect, it's important for these Mountaineers to learn from what happened last season, and not let history repeat itself.

"The mind is a very powerful thing, and we have to work very hard to make sure that we control our thoughts a little bit more," he said. "The big thing now is that it's just one game, and that it means very little in the big picture."

The head coach also admits that right now he feels a little bit like a baseball manager trying to rest the arms of his pitchers during the season to make sure they aren't overworked.

"Sometimes rest is the best thing. It's like a (starting) pitcher. Right now I'm Tony LaRussa trying to figure out what everybody needs," said the lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan.

So after a day off, the Mountaineers have put the loss to Marshall in their rearview mirror and are focused on Sunday's game with St. John's. For the past few years the Red Storm have been led by guard Daryll Hill, who has had a lot of success against the Blue and Gold.

"We have not been able to stop him. We had to go to a box and one last year to try to stop him. He's a tremendous player, but everyone else they have is tremendous as well. If they weren't then (St. John's) wouldn't be beating Louisville and Pitt," said Beilein.

It's true. A quick look at the stats shows that every St. John's starter averages at least 8.5 poitns per game.

For West Virginia to win on Sunday, they'll have to perform much better than they did in the second half against UCLA, and on Wednesday night against Marshall. After some time to rest, and some time to regroup, the senior laden Mountaineers seemed poised to bust out of the recent shooting slump.

Mountaineers Daily Top Stories