WVU takes on 4th ranked Syracuse

Coming off a disappointing loss against St. John's, West Virginia has to stick it in the back of their mind.  The Mountaineers will need all their players to be focused and to play hard if they want to leave Syracuse with a win.

Despite Kevin Jones having yet another double-double against the Red Storm, the Mountaineers still fell 78-62.  Jones has been the key player this year for West Virginia and he has taken over as leader of the team.  He will need to rally the rest of the team to play as hard as he does if they want to keep Syracuse against the ropes.  Truck Bryant was the only other player who had a good game as he recorded 16 points.  The other starters; Deniz Kilicli, Keaton Miles, and Jabarie Hinds all had less than ten points and none of them grabbed more than four rebounds.  This is unacceptable, how can a team win when just two of its players are in double digits for scoring?   


Another problem that faced the Mountaineers last game was that only one bench player scored any points.  Dominique Rutledge scored six points off the bench and that was it.  When the starters get a rest, they want whoever is replacing to step up and put in as much effort as they did.  When only one bench player scores six points there is something seriously wrong.  The bench players better step up in the Syracuse or they could find themselves on the bench for a very long time. 


The Mountaineers' defense seemed sluggish as well.  They allowed nearly a 50% field goal percentage, 33% from three point range and 75% from the free throw line.  This is a major problem since Syracuse is on another level than St. John’s and if the defense plays this way the score will be much greater than sixteen.  Some good news for the Mountaineers’ defense is that they won’t have to deal sophomore center Fab Melo.  Melo is on academic suspension and hasn’t played in Syracuse’s last two games.  Not only will this help the defense, but it should also help out the offense since they won’t have to shoot over a seven foot guy. 

One player the defense does have to look out for is senior forward Kris Joseph who is averaging 13.7 points per game.  Joseph is coming of a huge game against Cincinnati; he recorded 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block.  The Mountaineers need to keep a tab on him if they want to limit Syracuse’s chances of winning.       

The Mountaineers will have to play a much more physical game than they did against St. John's if they want to win this game.  The other big factor in this game will be the bench players, they have to score points and play well enough so that the starters can get some rest.Game Prediction: WVU-75  Syracuse-89

WVU Player of the Game: Kevin Jones 24 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists

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