MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia men’s basketball’s win over Jacksonville State was its first double-digit victory of the season, and the Mountaineers have some momentum ahead of the Fort Meyers Tipoff.
Here are the biggest takeaways from interim head coach Josh Eilert’s postgame thoughts:
Dissecting the film
Following Friday’s loss to Monmouth, the team had a mandatory day off Saturday, and when they came back to the facility Sunday, there was more of an emphasis on classroom work than before the previous two games.
“We spent a lot of time in the film room and really got down in the trenches of what we need to fix. We probably spent an hour in there, and when we came out, they responded. They responded in a really good way…We had two really good days of preparation.”
A new starter
Eilert made his first lineup tweak of the season Tuesday by starting freshman Ofri Naveh in place of shooting guard Seth Wilson.
“[It was] more of an analytics thing,” he said. “We’ve really spent a lot of time trying to figure out the right lineup combinations and from a defensive rebounding perspective, he gave us a lot more there than (junior guard) Seth (Wilson) did. It looked like from our rotations we would be a lot more better suited with him starting and Seth coming off the bench and correcting some of these rotations because we have limited numbers to work with, so trying to figure out the right rotations from a substitution standpoint was probably the biggest factor in it.”
Naveh finished the game with three points, three assists, three steals and the second-highest plus-minus on the time at +15.
As for Wilson, his starting status may be determined on a weekly basis based on matchups.
“I need him to shoot,” Eilert said. “He didn’t even get a field goal attempt up. We need Seth. We need Seth to bring that spark off the bench.
Operating through Edwards (offense and defense)
WVU and Jacksonville State traded baskets for much of the first ten minutes of the game, but the Mountaineers went on a run once they started running the offense through Edwards at the top of the paint in an effort to beat the Gamecocks’ zone defense.
Edwards (14 points, six rebounds) finished the game with six field goal attempts, but he also took 11 free throws.
The Mountaineers dropped into a 2-3 zone of their own later in the game, something with which Edwards is very familiar from his time playing at Syracuse under legendary coach Jim Boeheim.
“Jesse is a natural back there,” Eilert said. “He spent four years in a zone. So, we picked up a few things that we could just nail down, and we didn’t overcomplicate it by any means with it. We just wanted to pick two or three things, and most every kid has played a 2-3 zone. So, it’s not like it’s crazy or unnatural, but there are things he’s given us that we can utilize, and we’ve kept it pretty simple.”