A big reason for West Virginia’s win Saturday against Baylor was a stellar showing from sophomore Emmitt Matthews.
The forward produced his highest-scoring performance of the season with 18 points on 6-11 shooting. Not only did he lead the Mountaineers in scoring in the game, he amped up the crowd with a pair of electrifying second-half dunks.
That performance against the Bears was one of Matthews’ best since his 28-point night last year against Texas Tech at the Big 12 Championship. Now, he wants to sustain that level of play.
“You know, my slump was a little longer. It was a prolonged slump. It was something I had never seen before from myself,” Matthews said. “Things are clicking at the right time. I just wanted to come out and win, and I feel like I just made the plays to win the game.”
Matthews has logged double figures in scoring in eight games this season, but he has only scored 10 or more points twice in Big 12 action — first against Iowa State in February, and then again Saturday against the Bears. In eight games in between, Matthews maxed out at six points in a contest against Oklahoma State and went scoreless on two occasions.
Head coach Bob Huggins thinks Matthews is benefitting from a better mentality.
“I think with Emmitt, it was just his enthusiasm,” Huggins said Monday on his Big 12 teleconference. “I thought his enthusiasm was terrific in that game and in the practices leading up to that game.”
WVU returns to action Thursday in the Big 12 quarterfinals against Oklahoma. Tip-off is set for approximately 9 p.m. ET.