West Virginia Handles Shockers to Win Cancun Challenge
Riviera Maya, Mexico – In the first-ever meeting between the two programs, West Virginia beats Wichita State 75-63 in the Championship game of the Cancun Challenge. The Mountaineers got back to their roots, winning the rebound battle 48-31 led by another Oscar Tshiebwe double-double, 19 points and 18 rebounds, along with Derek Culvers nine boards and seven points.
At the outset, West Virginia dominated the glass, gaining a 7-2 edge spearheaded by Derek Culver’s five boards. Then, Deuce McBride hit a three picking up where he left off from the previous night’s late game heroics and the Mountaineers moved out to a 10-4 lead.
Sean McNeil made his presence felt coming off the bench, drilling a pair of threes for eight first half points and pushing the lead to eight at the 6:38 mark.
West Virginia went 1-5 from the free throw line and went over six minutes without a field goal until a tip in from Gabe Osabuohien on an Emmitt Matthews Jr miss as the buzzer sounds allowed Wichita State to creep back into the game as the Mountaineers still held a 31-28.
The Mountaineers started to pick up the tempo early in the second half and as a result, West Virginia went on a 13-3 run to take a 12-point advantage with 13:33 left in the game.
Matthews drilled a trio of clutch three’s in the second half and none was bigger than the third. The Shockers dwindled the Mountaineer lead to six. West Virginia was trying to find some answers on the offensive end, but Jordan McCabe found Emmitt on the wing for the big bucket to finish the night with 13 points and West Virginia was back up nine.
The duo of Culver and Tshiebwe established their presence early and finished strong keeping Wichita State off the boards and working the offensive glass to keep the Shockers at a distance with second chance points.
West Virginia finished Wichita State at the foul line going 10-12, McCabe doing most of the damage hitting 7-8 as the Mountaineers give the Shockers their first loss of the season to win the Cancun Challenge 75-63 win.