The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

November 23, 2013

WVU looking to keep rolling against Presbyterian

MORGANTOWN — Coming off a 101-point outburst against Georgia Southern in a 101-68 victory, West Virginia University’s men’s basketball team moves forward in the second round of the Cancun Challenge, facing the Presbyterian Blue Hose in a 1:30 p.m. game today at the Coliseum.

Following the game, the Mountaineers head for Mexico to face Old Dominion at 6 p.m. Tuesday and then either Wisconsin or St. Louis on Wednesday.

Old Dominion routed Presbyterian, 69-51, on Thursday night, dropping the Blue Hose to 1-4 for the season.

It won’t get easier for Presbyterian against a WVU team that has gone from a plodding offensive group a year ago that could do no better than a 13-19 record to a high-flying, high-speed offense off to a 3-1 start.

“We’re running a lot more, if you notice,” guard Eron Harris said. “Last year we’d get a rebound, hold it, give it to the point guard and walk the ball up. This year we are out running.”

Indeed, it is a different makeup, for the big men a year ago were senior Deniz Kilicli, junior Aaric Murray, senior Dominique Rutledge and junior Kevin Noreen, the only holdover and not now playing a real big man’s role.

The big men last year seemed to feel obligated to slow it up,” Harris said. “This year we have young bigs, and they want to run.”

That most notably is Devin Williams, with Brandon Watkins coming off the bench, and, should Jonathan Holton get his eligibility, the running tempo will go even higher.

Huggins agrees with Harris only in part

Yes, the team is running more and running harder, something he has stressed, but he isn’t ready to pin why the team was less aggressive in the running game a year ago simply on the big guys … mostly Kilicli.

“In defense of Deniz, who I think everyone would point at, Deniz ran early and never got the ball, so why would he continue to run?” Huggins said.

“You know, Devin ran today, and I don’t think he thought he was going to get the ball. Juwan (Staten) makes a great pass to him, and he drops it out of bounds. He comes back to the bench I told him, you want people to throw you the ball, catch it!”

But there is much different this year than last, even with a lot of the same players directing the show such as Staten, Harris, Terry Henderson and Gary Browne

“We play so much better together. They’re so much more unselfish,” Huggins said. “Honestly, because we pass the ball this year. It’s a lot easier for guys to run when they think they are going to get the ball because they ran rather that running down there and standing while some guy is dribbling the ball and shooting it behind the backboard.

“I think the reason we’re running better is just because guys are running. Last year we had a running mentality, but it was like your dog and an invisible fence on the 3-point line. We would put the brakes on right there and couldn’t cross it.

“We’d run to shoot 3s (last year). How about run and make a layup once? I’d make them do it in practice, but we’d get in a game and they’d get to the foul line and stop and shoot. And think about it; all those guys who would stop couldn’t make them, either, by the way.

“I don’t mind (sophomore guards) Eron and Terry stopping there because I know they can make them.”

Staten can be added to that list now, having figured out how to score … much of it from going to the hoop. He’s done that so often and so well that at point guard he leads the team in dunks.

What’s more, this team is still growing because of its youth.

“I think we are used to being a good offensive team, but we are getting better. We still have some guys who we can’t trust with the ball, but they are getting better passing. To be the best we can be, all of our guys have to be trusted with the ball, be able to square up and pass the ball where we need the ball passed to,” Harris said.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU faithful again have a reason to root against Vick

    It would be one final indignation, that’s what it would be if Michael Vick were to beat out Geno Smith and win the starting quarterback job with the New York Jets.

    April 23, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • 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

House Ads
Featured Ads