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.

Rebounding?

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.

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