The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 2, 2013

West Virginia not overlooking Loyola ahead of tough schedule

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia plays one of those trap games that come along every so often in a college basketball season when Loyola of Maryland comes to the WVU Coliseum at 7 p.m. today.

The Mountaineers bring a 5-2 record into the game, which one would think would make them seem a standout over a mid-major, if that, but they come in off a trip to the Cancun Classic and off a loss to Wisconsin, a Top 10 team, in as hard-fought a game that they could have.

The combination of late-November sunshine and a difficult loss with a quick turnaround against a team you are supposed to beat is what makes this dangerous.

Loyola is a team that you can’t take lightly, bringing in a 4-1 record.

The four victories were all tight battles, two won in overtime against Cornell and UMBC, another by five points and another by seven.

The loss is the intriguing game, for Loyola played No. 13 UConn deep into the game before falling by 10 points as the Huskies hit their free throws down the stretch.

Loyola features a star player in Dylon Cormier, who averages 28.4 points and 7.4 rebounds a game, but WVU doesn’t seem to be bothered by that.

“I don’t know, we play against pretty good players. We team guard everybody,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “We’ll put somebody on him and let them accept the challenge. You look who we have coming down the road; if we can’t do that it’s going to be a long year.”

When you are looking at facing Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, among others, Huggins’ point is well taken.

Guard Eron Harris, who will probably draw the assignment guarding Cormier starting off, didn’t sound too impressed with the situation either.

“If he’s averaging 28, it means his team isn’t really that good,” Harris said. “Our coaches told us he takes a lot of bad shots. He’ll make some and he’ll miss some. It’s going to happen. We have to make sure his teammates don’t do much. Let’s get on the boards and be someone on the boards for a change.”

And when the UConn game is brought up, Harris simply shrugs that off.

“I’m not worrying about that,” Harris said. “Teams have good games and bad games. It’s on to the next.”

Huggins isn’t overly impressed either.

“They’re good, but you know what? We come out of that and we go to Missouri, we got Gonzaga and Marshall and Purdue. It doesn’t stop, so our approach is you have to guard good people every time out. You need to accept the challenge,” he said.

Besides, WVU has matters of its own to work on. The team is shooting just 64.2 percent from the free throw line.

“I would never imagine as well as we shoot the ball we couldn’t make free throws,” Huggins said.

The other thing WVU has to find a way to improve is its rebounding, for it will not be able to get through league play until it starts developing a toughness and personality on the boards. To date, against far inferior competition to what they will see in the Big 12, they are being outrebounded.

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