THE SHOTGUN THROWDOWN: Why Gabe Osabuohien is West Virginia’s most indispensable player

THE SHOTGUN THROWDOWN: Why Gabe Osabuohien is West Virginia’s most indispensable player

NCAA Basketball: Oakland at West Virginia
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions. But before we get started, we’d like to express our appreciation and gratitude to all U.S. military veterans on Veterans Day! Thank you for helping make our nation the greatest country in the world.

GABE!

The few remaining people that were yet to realize it should now know that fifth-year senior Gabe Osabuohien is an indispensable player for the WVU men’s basketball team. Since arriving in Morgantown, Osabuohien has been giving 110% every time he steps on the court and his hustle provides the Mountaineers with momentum-swinging and game-changing plays that can help them win games.

In WVU’s season opening win over Oakland, Gabe “only” had six points, but fans know that scoring is not where he makes his impact. Osabuohien grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, made three assists, and had two blocks and a steal. His most noteworthy statistic was the five charges that he took, which many thought might have been close to a record, although drawing charges is not an officially recorded stat. Gabe also had the best plus-minus on the team with +16, which shows the tremendous impact that his energy and effort provides coming off the bench for WVU. And it is contagious when Gabe makes a big play and lets out a yell to pump up his teammates and the rowdy WVU crowd.

This type of effort is not something new, he has been giving the team everything he has for his entire Mountaineer career. Between deflecting passes and diving for loose balls, Osabuohien is truly a Huggins-type of basketball player with the hustle plays that he makes. And although he doesn’t always fill up the box score, if Gabe continues to play with heart and grit, he could finish his career at WVU as one of the fan bases favorite players of all time.

BACKYARD BRAWL

The Backyard Brawl between West Virginia and Pitt is officially sold out! The WVU men’s basketball team is hosting its biggest rival for the first time since for the first time since 2018 and it will be doing so in front of a packed house in the WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers defeated the Panthers in their last game in Morgantown, 69-59, and they also won the last matchup in 2019, 68-53, on the road. Even WVU head coach Bob Huggins is pumped about the sellout crowd for the Gold Rush game.

The Mountaineers started the season with a 60-53 win over Oakland on Tuesday night. In Friday’s matchup, they will be looking to add to their four-game winning streak over Pitt that stretches back to 2012. The game will tip off at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPNU.

BOUNCE BACK

The West Virginia football team is looking to bounce back this week when it travels to Kansas State. It has been the case in almost every game this year, where the WVU defense keeps the Mountaineers in the game, and it becomes up to the offense to do enough to help the team get a win. So, with that in mind, what does the WVU offense have to do to help the team win this week? The first thing is that the offensive line needs to come to play, which means giving quarterback Jarret Doege time to throw and giving running back Leddie Brown the ability to make plays in the run game. The Mountaineer offense will also have to get to the red zone and score points when it does.

WEST VIRGINIA ROUNDUP

  • Four members of the #21 West Virginia men’s soccer team have earned All-Mid-American Conference honors. Junior midfielder Luke McCormick was a First Team All-MAC honoree. Fifth-year senior defender Kevin Morris, fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky, and sophomore forward Ciro Bourlot Jaeggi were all named to the Second Team.
  • The men’s soccer team will need its all-conference players to continue their strong performances in the 2021 MAC Championship Semifinals today. WVU is set to face Georgia State at 4:00 p.m. ET. The Mountaineers defeated the Panthers, 2-1, in their lone regular season match two weeks ago.

AROUND THE BIG 12

  • The Big 12 went undefeated on the opening night of college basketball. Senior guard Ochai Agbaji scored 29 points to help #3 Kansas defeat Michigan State, 87-74, at the Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden in New York City.
  • #5 Texas had six players in double digits as it cruised to a 92-48 opening win over Houston Baptist.
  • Oklahoma State held UT Arlington to just 14 points in the first half to run away with an easy win, 88-45. Sophomore forward Moussa Cisse led the Cowboys with 17 points and nine rebounds.
  • Oklahoma’s big men helped it earn a 77-59 win over Northwestern State on opening night. Senior forward Tanner Groves had 15 points and nine rebounds, while junior forward Jalen Hill also had 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Sooner.

AROUND THE NCAA

  • The Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden on the opening night of college basketball did not disappoint. #9 Duke overcame #10 Kentucky, 79-71, to start head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season off with a win. Former West Virginia forward, now a UK Wildcat, Oscar Tshiebwe stole the show by putting together a double-double with 17 points and 19 rebounds. Freshman guard Trevor Keels led the Blue Devils with 25 points.
  • #17 Ohio State narrowly escaped an upset loss to Akron on Tuesday. The Buckeyes needed a buzzer-beater to defeat the Zips 67-66. OSU junior forward E.J. Liddell had a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

ODDS AND ENDS

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