Busting Brackets

West Virginia Basketball: Mountaineers suffer heartbreaking loss to Virginia

Oct 18, Kansas City, MO, USA; West Virginia interim head coach Josh Eilert answers questions at Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tipoff at T-Mobile Center. Mandatory Credit: Kylie Graham-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 18, Kansas City, MO, USA; West Virginia interim head coach Josh Eilert answers questions at Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tipoff at T-Mobile Center. Mandatory Credit: Kylie Graham-USA TODAY Sports /

West Virginia Basketball falls to UVA in Fort Myers Tip-Off. Three things Mountaineer fans can be thankful for despite the loss.

West Virginia Basketball falls to UVA by a final score of 56-54. This was a devastating loss for the shorthanded Mountaineer team that gave it their all just to come up a bit short. As expected, both teams had their fair share of struggles scoring the basketball.

Game Recap

Not looking good

West Virginia trailed by a score of 26-23 at halftime. Over the opening 7 minutes of the second half, UVA stretched their lead out to 10. Andrew Rohde made a layup to put the score at 36-26 with 13:18 to play. Things were beginning to look bleak for WVU as they trailed by 10 and Jesse Edwards was saddled with 3 fouls. Edwards picked up his fourth foul with 10 minutes left.

Getting back into the game

Through the first 29 minutes of the game baskets were hard to come by for West Virginia. WVU had just one made basket from someone other than Jesse Edwards or Quinn Salinski, who have been carrying the offense all-season to this point. Kobe Johnson and Seth Wilson changed that narrative in a hurry, knocking down a combined 5 three-pointers in the late stages of the second half. A Kobe Johnson 3-pointer gave the Mountaineers a 42-40 lead with 8:41 remaining in the game.

Coming down the stretch

Coming down the stretch, this was a back-and-forth contest. Over the final 4+ minutes there were 3 ties and 4 lead changes. West Virginia took a 51-50 lead on a Seth Wilson made 3-pointer with 1:55 to go. After UVA made a couple baskets, Quinn Salinski went to the free throw line for three shots, trailing 54-51 with 36 seconds to go. He made all three.

With the game knotted at 54, UVA’s Ryan Dunn missed a go-ahead 3-point attempt with 9 seconds remaining. West Virginia failed to secure the rebound. Reece Beekman attacked the basket and was fouled by Quinn Salinski with 2 seconds left in the game. Beekman would split the pair of free throws. Ryan Dunn secured the offensive rebound for UVA. Dunn went to the line with 0.4 seconds left and a 1-point lead. He split the pair of free throws. 56-54, final.

Why this loss hurts

Wins for the 2023-2024 Mountaineers may be hard to come by. Close losses are always painful, but losing to the #24 ranked Virginia Cavaliers in this fashion hurts a little more. WVU was very close to pulling off the upset but came up short. Despite shooting 37.3% (19-51) from the field, West Virginia went toe-to-toe with a UVA team expected to fall out of the AP Top 25 when next week’s rankings are released. Though it is still November, a win over a ranked opponent would’ve bolstered WVU’s confidence and resume. They will have plenty more opportunities to win games over solid teams, but the one’s you almost had always sting a little more.

3 things Mountaineer fans can be thankful for

1. Kerr Kriisa’s only has to serve 4 more games of his 9-game suspension.

Kriisa will be eligible to play beginning with the game against UMASS on December 16th. Hang on tight — the talented Arizona transfer will be in the Mountaineer rotation soon.

2. Jesse Edwards and Quinn Slazinski have proven to be a solid scoring duo

While the Mountaineers have struggled to find scoring from their rotation players this season, Edwards and Slazinski are not to blame. Both players scored 17 points against a solid UVA defense. Edwards and Slazinski have scored in double-digits in every game this season. Playing alongside Kerr Kriisa should only help them to produce even more offensively.

3. This team is easy to support

Be thankful that the young men on this roster have chosen to be here. Be thankful that the members of the coaching staff have chosen to be here. It was a crazy off-season in Morgantown to say the least. Players left, coaches left, players stayed, players were suspended, and new players joined the team late in the off-season.

It doesn’t matter what has transpired in the Mountaineer basketball program in recent months. Nor does your opinion on it matter. If you support WVU Atheltics, you should support these players and coaches. The players and coaches are proud to represent the state of West Virginia. They need this fanbase behind them.

Mountaineer nation, we must appreciate the effort that these guys are putting in.

For choosing to be here when it would’ve been easy to leave, thank you.

Coaches: Josh Eilert, DerMarr Johnson, Da’Sean Butler, Alex Ruoff, Jordan McCabe, James Dickey

Players: Akok Akok, RaeQuan Battle, Jeremiah Bembry, Jesse Edwards, Noah Farrakhan, Josiah Harris, Kobe Johnson, Kerr Kriisa, Ofri Naveh, Ali Ragab, Quinn Slazinski, Patrick Suemnick, Seth Wilson

Next. 10 teams with most to prove during Feast Week. dark

Next Up

West Virginia (2-3) will return to the WVU Coliseum and host the Bellarmine Knights (2-4) on Sunday, November 26th at 5 PM.