Men's Basketball, Sports, WVU Sports

WVU turned a page by overcoming the usual ingredients for a loss in beating Cincinnati

MORGANTOWN — In terms of facing another setback, all the usual signs were right there Wednesday for the WVU men’s basketball team.

Getting beat on the boards check: Check.

RaeQuan Battle in early foul trouble: Check.

Struggling to make shots: Check.

What was a tied game with 12:21 remaining had turned into a 10-point Cincinnati lead just six minutes later.


All of that had meant disaster before. This time it was doom handed to the Bearcats, as WVU pulled out a 69-65 victory inside the Coliseum.

“For a team that was 7-13 going into this game, it’s easy to shut it down and say we’re done,” WVU head coach Josh Eilert said. “But that’s not my message. We’re going to fight every single possession and every single game. There’s no quit in us.”

WVU (8-13, 3-5 Big 12) instead went against the norm.

WVU point guard Kerr Kriisa called it “grit” afterward. Cincinnati head coach Wes Miller called it disappointing.

“I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated with the way we finished the game,” he said. “We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to be able to close games out with a 10-point lead with six minutes left. That’s inexcusable.”

In the past, frustration may had set in for the Mountaineers, too. This time was different.

“I didn’t see that at all,” Eilert said. “I saw a different mentality out there tonight. To come back from down 10 in a tough situation and continue to fight and battle and find that victory at the end is going to be huge for our confidence.”

What was different this time? Maybe it goes back to the day before the game, when Eilert sat in front of the media and asked, “Why not us?”

With a close-to-healthy Jesse Edwards — he had 25 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks against Cincinnati — in WVU’s lineup, Eilert believes the pieces are in place to make a run.

Those pieces had not been all together at any other time this season.

“We’ve got to build that consistency,” Eilert said after the game. “The chemistry, at times, looked like it was there tonight.

“I preach to our guys that we have that discipline and we have to build that consistency from game to game. We can be dangerous on the way out. There’s nothing from stopping us from maximizing our potential on the way out.”

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