The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 3, 2013

Mountaineers make quick work of Greyhounds

MORGANTOWN — A day before West Virginia was to play what seemed to be a dangerous Loyola of Maryland basketball team at the Coliseum, coach Bob Huggins talked for some time in depth about shortcomings his team had been displaying and about how they would have to overcome them to become a good team.

In no particular order, he noted that their rebounding was suspect and had to improve, that their free throw shooting was mysteriously deficient, and he talked of how he needed a healthy and productive Terry Henderson to perform at his best for the team to perform at its best.

One 96-47 victory later, all those problems had been miraculously solved.

Free throwing shooting?

All West Virginia did was make 19 of 22, shooting 86.4 percent compared to the 64.2 percent they had shot for the season.


This one is difficult to imagine. Going into the game they were averaging 34.6 rebounds per game, actually being outrebounded by their opponents.

In this game they pulled down 62 rebounds, the most since Dec. 2, 1991, against Radford when they collared 94.

Impossible as it is to believe, they had 62 rebounds to 47 points for the Greyhounds.

And as for Henderson, while he wasn’t player of the game he was his old self again after battling injury, scoring 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting that included 2 of 2 from 3-point range, adding three rebounds, one assist and one steal.

Coach Huggins was thrilled about the rebounding, but Huggins is Huggins and he isn’t exactly going to show it outwardly.

“You get 62 rebounds by missing a lot of shots,” he said. “Obviously, coming back from Cancun I wasn’t very happy about how we rebounded the ball. We emphasized that a great deal. It was better, but (junior guard) Juwan Staten was the only one who really did what I asked. He put his body on people.”

Staten did not have the offensive game he has been having, hitting only 2 of 10 shots, but he still nearly had a double-double with 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Also suffering offensively, at least through the first half, was Eron Harris, who came on strong in the second half with 12 points to finish with 14. Part of the first-half troubles may have been because he was exerting great effort defensively on Loyola’s top scorer Dylon Cormier, who came in averaging 28 points a game but had only six at the half.

“When I play defense against a good player, I turn it up 10 notches,” Harris said.

The biggest lift of all for the Mountaineers came from junior Kevin Noreen, a starter who is not known for his scoring. Noreen, in fact, was averaging 2.4 points per game coming in.

One shot into the game he had surpassed that, hitting a 3, to match his total 3s from a year ago.

He played inspirational ball, rebounding, scoring, diving on the floor, finishing with 13 points, one short of his career high, seven rebounds and an assist.

“I have to start looking for shots,” Noreen said. “If not, I’m not a threat and they won’t cover me.”

That was how Loyola approached this game, concentrating on Staten and Harris and leaving Noreen alone.

“I took the opportunities when they were there,” he said.

The result was a different look to a Mountaineer team that was far too entertaining to be playing in front of a crowd of 4,692, the smallest crowd since New Hampshire on Dec. 21, 2004, when 4,323 showed up.

 The only section that was full housed the pep band. Even the student section cried out in indifference.

“I’ve said we have loyal fans,” Huggins said. “We just have 4,000 of them. Other places have 14,000 of them.”

Noreen was forgiving of the crowd.

“I understand why they all haven’t come back yet. Honestly, I don’t think we have quite earned it,” he said. “I’m hoping with our play we’ll get the fan support and get them back in the seats, but for now we have to keep playing hard and that we respect them for spending their hard-earned money. I don’t think we quite did that last season. We probably turned a lot of people off, and we want to get them back on board.”

There were a couple of other things of note. Remi Dibo brought the crowd to its feet with a spectacular save of a ball while flying out of bounds, adding to the 19 points he scored on 6 of 8 shooting, 5 of 7 from 3.

And then there was Nathan Adrian, making the best of a bad situation when he threw up an air ball from maybe six inches away from the basket but somehow grabbed the rebound and flipped it out to Dibo for a 3.

He had turned an embarrassing air ball into a rebound and assist on the same play.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • WVU #6 SHORTS -TS.jpg WVU opens practice with different feel: VIDEOS AND PHOTOS

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.
    Of course, he would note, “Everybody in the country has a good first day.”
    But somehow, this was different.
    Very different.

    August 1, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia University quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld what should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    August 1, 2014

  • WVU basketball non-conference schedule released

    After playing challenging schedules along with the tough Big 12 road, West Virginia University has backed off some this season on its non-conference schedule that was released Thursday.
    West Virginia is coming off a 17-16 season in which it failed to reach the NCAA Tournament and lost to Georgetown in the first round of the NIT.

    August 1, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads