Men's Basketball, WVU Sports

West Virginia holds off Bellarmine behind Jesse Edwards’ third double-double of the season

MORGANTOWN — The good news: West Virginia ended a two-game skid Sunday night with a 62-58 win against Bellarmine inside the Coliseum.

The not so good news: The Mountaineers showed little life and came away with few answers to what’s been troubling them.

“We wanted a little more,” said point guard Kobe Johnson, who finished with 13 points. “It kind of felt like a trap game. We all wanted to come out and play better and dominate, but you know …”

Johnson’s voice trailed off, but the meaning was understood.


WVU (3-3) didn’t walk out of the Coliseum feeling as if it had just put on a fantastic display of basketball.

Instead, the Mountaineers, as tired and worn down as this short-handed bunch can be, simply survived.

“Definitely not an easy one,” center Jesse Edwards said after getting his third double-double (17 points, 14 rebounds) of the season. “We ended up getting most of the plays we wanted to run more and more, but we definitely had trouble with the way (Bellarmine) shot the ball. They’re moving a lot. It wasn’t an easy one, but they did a really good job.”

For both WVU and Bellarmine (2-5), there were both good and bad moments.

The Knights held their own on the boards, grabbing 12 offensive rebounds in the game, while also connecting on nine 3-pointers.

“They end up with 14 more field-goal attempts than us and they got 12 offensive rebounds,” WVU head coach Josh Eilert said. “Those are killers when you play a tea like that. You guard them for 30 (seconds) and then you have to guard them for another 20. We came down on the other end and our offense just didn’t have that spark. We were fatigued.”

The bad news for the Knights is they were held to just 34% shooting (22 of 65), and while they made enough shots to keep pace, they never were in position to pull ahead enough for the upset bid.

WVU did make some crucial plays down the stretch.

Freshman Ofri Naveh nailed a 3-pointer with 3:43 remaining that gave WVU a 56-51 lead, while Edwards added two close-range buckets in the final seconds, including a dunk when the Mountaineers beat the Knights’ full-court press.

“I hadn’t had a dunk the whole game, so I just needed to get a good one before I left,” Edwards said.

Johnson nailed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left that secured the win, but this was another missed opportunity for WVU’s shooters overall.

The Mountaineers didn’t make too many more than the Knights, finishing at 41.2% shooting, while only going 3 of 16 from 3-point range.

For a second consecutive game, forward Josiah Harris didn’t score a single point and Seth Wilson (3 of 9) also struggled with his shot, too.

“I think he’s taking good threes, and they’re going to fall eventually,” Eilert said of Harris. “We, as a coaching staff, went through a lot of sets at shoot-around, and I think he was 10 for 10. I don’t know what flipped the switch come game time. He’s going to have a breakout game sooner rather than later.”

Quinn Slazinski provided some shots, finishing with 16 points and five rebounds. Naveh had his best results of the season, going for 10 points, but Eilert said he’s got to find a way to get his team energized in the coming days.

“I can feel the fatigue with our guys,” Eilert said. “Bellarmine came in here to play and they were hungry and took it to us.

“At the end of the day, it’s a win, but we have to figure out how we learn from it and grow.”