The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 28, 2014

WVU travels to Baylor in hopes of keeping season alive

MORGANTOWN — If West Virginia is going to make the necessary turnaround to have a shot at post-season play, there is no better time than the present as the Mountaineers travel to Waco, Texas, at 7 p.m. to take on a struggling Baylor team that has dropped its last four games and five of its last six.

The game can be seen on ESPN2.

Baylor carries a 13-6 record into the game with just one Big 12 Conference victory in six league outings, while Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers are 11-9 on the year and 3-4 in league play. WVU has dropped four of its last five outings, including a hard-fought 81-75 loss at Oklahoma State in which it held Player of the Year frontrunner Marcus Smart to just one basket.

West Virginia’s biggest problem has been on defense, as with most teams this season, as they try to become accustomed to the tightening of the rules that have made it more difficult to check offensive players.

“The biggest thing is we have not rebounded as well as in the past, so we are giving people second chances, but nobody can guard,” Huggins said during Monday’s Big 12 Coaches Conference call. “The way game has changed has made it hard for everyone to guard. They’ve kind of made it the way they want. The scores are way higher.”

No one really has been at ease with the way the officials are calling the games.

“It’s been an adjustment period for everyone,” Huggins said. “The biggest thing is how it’s affected secondary defenders. They are probably calling a little more on the ball, but I don’t think that’s the biggest effect. The biggest effect is what happens with secondary defenders.”

The officiating, Huggins believes, comes out of league headquarters.

“I think they do what they are told to do,” he said. “You get a memo that says people are stepping into shooters and so they make sure whether they step into the shooter or not they make the call. They err on the side of doing what they are told to do … if they err … or when they err.”

In WVU’s loss to Oklahoma State, six players fouled out, including Smart and WVU’s top scorer, Eron Harris, who scored 21 points in 21 minutes.

After a brief slump, Harris has refound his shot is 13-of-20 (.650) from 3-point range in the last three games and has seven 20-point outings this season, tied for the most by any Big 12 player.

WVU, however, counts on Terry Henderson to also score a lot of points, but after a career high 28 against Texas Tech, he managed to make only one of 10 shots against Oklahoma State.

“For some reason it seems when Eron is making shots, Terry isn’t, and vice versa, and we need both of those guys to make shots,” Huggins said.

It’s important for West Virginia to not look past this struggling Baylor team, even though it is not living up to its preseason expectations.

“I think our players understand how talented this team is,” Huggins said. “What’s hard is to simulate their length. They have great length and play a lot of matchup zone and do a great job with it. It is extra effective because of their ability to block shots.”

“We had a good practice yesterday,” Coach Scott Drew said. “When you analyze why we’ve faulted the last couple of weeks, we haven’t defended well in conference, giving up 49 percent, and we’ve shot poorly, just 39 percent.

“There’s frustration. Everyone wants to win and is taking it on their shoulders and rather than make the extra pass and help their teammate get the better look, they are shooting the ball,” Drew continued. “That’s understandable because we’ve got a good group of guys who want to win and when you want to win, you press and put it on your shoulders instead of trying to keep it a team game. I think we’re trying to focus on that instead of trusting our teammates.”

That has not been a trouble with WVU, whose point guard Juwan Statler has kept the show running smoothly with the ball being distributed. Staten played all 40 minutes at OSU, the third time in the last four contests he has logged 40 minutes.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • 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

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU punter turns heads at linebacker

    They call him “Huey the Punter.”
    His real name is Houstin Syvertson. His real position is not punter. Not anymore, anyway.
    To be honest, until Saturday’s spring game, not many people following West Virginia football knew the name or the nickname. They know it now.

    April 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads