Mountaineers drop OT decision to Buffalo
It was a rude awakening to the season as West Virginia opened with a 99-94 overtime loss to Buffalo. The MAC favorite and a 13-seed team that upset fourth-seeded Arizona in the NCAA Tournament last year, the Bulls proved more than a sound challenge, especially as the Mountaineers worked in a new starting backcourt after the loss of Jevin Carter and Daxter Miles.
The result was a slow start that methodically built to a closer-then-expected game ultimately resulting in an overtime defeat. Let’s get into the nuts and bolts in our postgame feature dubbed The Full 40.
HOT AND NOT
Beetle Bolden was solid at the point guard position. This will be reviewed more in the Game Ball breakdown, but Bolden was a bright light in an otherwise mundane offensive performance. Sure, West Virginia neared 100 points, but it was hit or miss (mainly miss) on offense, and its defense was atrocious at times. Consider that Bolden was plus 17 in scoring on the floor. No other Mountaineer was better than plus 8, and some were as poor as minus-17 in the case of Brandon Knapper.
Chase Harler also played solid defense, getting a nice block in transition and cutting into passing lanes at times. Other than that, and the usual set of deflections and blocks from Sags Konate, there wasn’t much to love about this contest, even against a good Buffalo team. WVU shot it decently at 43.9 percent overall, 33.3 from three, but was out-toughed and outphysicaled, while being unable to deploy the usual Press Virginia style. Too many turnovers and a lackadaisical effort on the boards doomed much more in the Hot portion.