The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 30, 2013

Mountaineers take care of William & Mary, 82-45

MORGANTOWN — It wasn’t exactly the start of what would be a surprisingly overwhelming performance by West Virginia in the Mountaineers final non-conference encounter of the season, but it was the spark that made certain this wasn’t going to be Gonzaga all over again.

West Virginia had started slowly, falling behind William & Mary in a game they would eventually win 82-45 before 8,885 fans at the Civic Center in Charleston. Five and a half minutes in they were tied at 8-8 and nearly three minutes later the score was the same, as Remi Dibo threw up a 3-point shot that missed the basket by an area code or two.

This wasn’t just a miss. It was an embarrassing miss, about to bounce out of bounds before Kevin Noreen could save it, get it back into play and, don’t you know it, the ball went around the horn back into Dibo’s hands.

Bashful is not an adjective you can use with Dibo, for he immediately launched another 3 and this one went swish to give WVU an 11-8 lead that got the joint jumping.

“Remi is unique,” Coach Bob Huggins said. “Most people who take their first shot and miss by 12 feet don’t start clapping their hands and want to get another one.”

Especially not coming off a game in which he had been inserted into the starting for the first time and did absolutely nothing, a shooter who had missed the only two shots he had taken.

Seeing that series of events, however, lit the fuse.

Seconds later came the explosion.

A steal put WVU in transition, the ball winding up in point guard Juwan Staten’s hands while in full stride, allowing him to soar to the basket and complete a thunderous slam.

“’uwanny got in transitions and had the dunk that fueled us,” Huggins said. “It was nice to see him make one.”

Indeed, twice before this season Staten had tried such dunks only to slam the ball off the rim and have it ricochet away.

Not this time. The crowd was on its feet, the bench was on its feet and Dibo was calling for the ball again, hitting another 3.

By halftime, this WVU team that had made but 3 of 18 3s against Purdue in its last game was raining 3s, leading 41-24.

And they would not relent this time as they did in blowing a 17-point lead to Gonzaga.

What made this impressive is that William & Mary is not a bad team, a team that could win the Colonial Athletic Conference this season. It was a team averaging 76 points a game, but WVU found the defensive answer and held them to 25 percent shooting in each half and to 45 points for the entire game.

Meanwhile, magic was occurring for WVU. Freshman Nathan Adrian, who had been struggling, suffered a broken nose in the first half, only to come back and score 14 second-half points and finish with a career-high 16.

Terry Henderson proclaimed himself ready for Big 12 play, which begins on Jan. 4 and 6 with a trip to TCU and Texas Tech, with his best showing of the year, scoring 19 points.

And then there was Staten, who has emerged as one of the most dynamic players in the Big 12 after what really was a lackluster season in 2012-13.

Staten spent the afternoon flirting with a triple-double, something seems almost inevitable before he leaves WVU.

This time he scored 16 points, had 10 rebounds and six assists.

While all this was happening, WVU was playing the kind of defense Huggins has been trying to get out of them all season.

“Kevin Noreen came in and did a great job,” Huggins said. “He made them catch it higher than wanted and that elongated those passing lanes. We probably had more steals than we had all year.”

WVU wound up with seven steals, three by Henderson, who also pounded the boards harder than he had all season.

The result of the defense was that 25 percent shooting percentage as William & Mary could not get the layups that Purdue had gotten.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads