The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

November 17, 2013

WVU looking to regroup against Duquesne

MORGANTOWN — A year ago around this time of year, West Virginia University traveled up to Pittsburgh to play Duquesne in a game it fully expected to win, even though the Mountaineers were off to a shaky 4-3 start at the time.

To make matters worse, coach Bob Huggins knew it was something of a trap game, for laying ahead was a trip to Brooklyn to face John Beilein and a Michigan team that would make its way to the NCAA final.

“It is funny, because the coach told us if you guys don’t win Duquesne the rest of the season will be miserable,” Gary Browne, the guard, recalled. “We were supposed to win that game and when we lost, we didn’t think about it at first, but as time went on we kind of realized.”

Huggins was right. It turned into a miserable season, a losing season that included no post-season play.

Now Duquesne is here again, and WVU comes into it off a game it should have won against a Virginia Tech team that seemed to be nothing special, a team it had built a 17-point lead against before spitting it up.

That game, as bad a loss as it became, didn’t seem to discourage this young, ambitious Mountaineer team.

“I feel this was different. Even though we lost, the guys know what we’re capable of doing. That’s one thing we can take out of that, even though I hate losing,” Browne said.

“We know we can be real good. First half, we were outstanding. We scored 82 points. We never had that last year.”

But they must beat Duquesne in a 4 p.m. home game today to teach themselves that the idea isn’t to feel you played well or to score 82 points, but to win.

Huggins knows it won’t be easy because the Dukes are never conventional.

“A year ago we thought they’d press and run up and down and they didn’t; they packed it in, and it was obviously a smart thing to do. They won,” he said.

This year he’s looking for them to open up.

“I think what they would like to do is press, speed the game up, score out of transition. Everybody has the green light; they all shoot it,” he said.

That might be hard to do against a WVU team that has speed and is guard- and forward-oriented with Browne, Juwan Staten, Eron Harris, and Terry Henderson, who figures to play more as he comes back off injury.

The problem is you never are sure what Duquesne will come up with.

“They’ll invert sometimes with their big guys out running a three-man weave,” Huggins said. “I don’t know if the word is unconventional, but they’ll do some things you don’t see a lot.”

That will be helpful later in the season as this young team will face all sorts of different approaches as it goes through the Big 12 season.

It is important that Huggins first get his team back to full health. Henderson is recovering from a leg injury and French newcomer Remi Dibo is still coming back from knee surgery.

“He struggled a little at first because of the knee surgery, trying to figure out what’s going on. Now we’re trying to get him to understand what’s a good shot and not a good shot in terms of what’s going on at the time,” Huggins said of Dibo.    

At the same time Browne, who is the most improved player out there for the Mountaineers, has battled a deep thigh contusion he picked up in practice that has limited his mobility but has not kept him off the court.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • 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

House Ads
Featured Ads