West Virginia OWES Gonzaga

Morgantown, West Virginia – The last time that the West Virginia Mountaineers played Gonzaga was in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.  The Mountaineers, led by the dynamic backcourt of Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr., were a 4 seed and had real national championship aspirations.

The Sweet Sixteen matchup with the 1 seed Gonzaga was one of the most disappointing games in West Virginia basketball history.  A back and forth slugfest throughout the game, West Virginia and Gonzaga were tied 55-55 with 1 minute and 59 seconds left in regulation.

A pass from Jevon Carter to Nathan Adrian was deflected and Adrian saved the ball before it went out of bounds.  The referees stopped the game for 7 minutes – and what felt like an hour – to review the call.  The ball went to the Mountaineers, but the damage was done.  West Virginia had the momentum and lost it due to the extra-long review.

West Virginia got up 58-57 with Daxter Miles at the foul line.  Miles missed the free throw and Nathan Adrian got the rebound.  He went for a dunk and was clearly fouled by the Gonzaga defenders but it wasn’t called.  Instead, Gonzaga took the ball down court and made a 3 pointer to put them up 60-58.

Bob Huggins tried to get Jevon Carter an open look but Gonzaga keyed on him and he missed two contested looks.  Gonzaga won 61-58, sending the Mountaineers back home to Morgantown.

Although West Virginia played outstanding defense and fought valiantly, they only shot 16-60 (26.7%) from the field and 5-23 (21.7%) from three point range.  If West Virginia didn’t have one of its worse shooting performances of the year combined with questionable officiating, the Mountaineers would have not only beaten Gonzaga that day but also had a real chance at a national championship.