The Times West Virginian

Sports

December 31, 2012

Back on track

Staten, Browne lead WVU past Eastern Kentucky

MORGANTOWN — There was a moment in the first half of what would become West Virginia’s 74-67 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Sunday afternoon before 8,123 fans trying to find a diversion after Saturday’s Pinstripe Bowl disaster when Coach Bob Huggins actually had a warm feeling come over him.

This has been a trying year for him in trying to create the type of team that he wants and he’s running out of time to get to that point, with his next game the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma.

So here he was, leading by upward of 16 points and playing the game as he envisioned it being played.

“I started thinking we were beginning to look like my team again,” he said.

His team is a team that plays tight, physical defense, that runs when it can run, that hits the boards hard and that makes a lot of shots.

Those halftime statistics showed him leading, 35-22, holding the opponents to just eight first-half field goals and 27.6 percent shooting while his team had a 23-15 rebounding lead and was shooting a respectable 46.4 percent from the floor.

“Soon as I start thinking like that they come out and shoot 63 percent in the second half,” Huggins said.

That’s correct. Even a six-point first-half advantage can’t be considered safe, not the way this team is playing. Indeed, with 4:21 remaining in the game Eric Stutz hit a pair of free throws to put EKU back in front at 63-61.

It took Aaric Murray to hit a shot inside to tie the game at 63-63 and then for the lead to be reobtained from a most unexpected source.

Dominique Rutledge, struggling along with just 37.1 percent free throws made entering the game, was put into the game by Huggins despite that.

Why would he chance that?

“We weren’t going to throw him the ball,” Huggins admitted. “He was in there to rebound and play defense.”

Of course, he almost immediately was fouled but stepped up calmly and canned two free throws.

Moments later he grabbed a rebound and was fouled.

No sweat; he made one of two free throws, then moments later after Eastern had scored, he slipped a nifty pass to Murray for a layup and a 63-63 tie.

Following a turnover, the ball again found its way into Rutledge’s hands and he was fouled, making one of two for a 64-63 lead and he wasn’t done yet, grabbing off an offensive rebound and being fouled and making two free throws.

Count ’em up. From 4:58 until 2:34 he grabbed two rebounds, had an assist and made five of six free throws. West Virginia led, 66-63, and would never cede that lead again.

You talk to players and they all carry praise for Rutledge, but with a qualifier.

“He was always a rebounder,” Deniz Kilicli said. “Go ask K.J. He was here today. He’s the hardest guy to block out ... when he wants to be.”

That is always what you hear ... when he wants to be.

Rutledge doesn’t get that, though.

“There are certain times in the game my team needs me to bring certain things. I try to bring the intensity I don’t see on the court. I try to make the extra pass. It has a lot to do with what I see when I’m on the sideline,” he said.

“But every game I try to bring my hard hat. I figure if I work harder than anybody else, everything else will come.”

WVU actually won this game at the free throw line, hitting a season-high 32 in a season-high 39 attempts.

Juwan Staten and Gary Browne shared high-scoring honors with 17 points each, Staten a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line and Browne hitting 10 of 11.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Berner, Hess lead W.Va. Open

    Threatening weather did not strike Wednesday, and it was a cool, breezy start to the 81st West Virginia Open played on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs.
     

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Growing demands on college athletes concerns Wyant

    Fred Wyant, one of the greatest quarterbacks in West Virginia University’s history, has lashed out at today’s growing demands on college athletes.
    The 80-year-old Star City resident led the Mountaineers to a 30-4 record as the starter from 1952-1955. Percentage-wise, it’s clearly the best-ever record by a QB in school annals.
    Wyant, a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, came here after graduating with honors from Weston High School. That’s where WVU coach Art “Pappy” Lewis signed him to a four-year scholarship.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time.jpg Texas’ Strong prefers not talking about national title

    Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game.
    The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NMHS hopes new playing surface generates excitement

    The St. Louis Rams coined the nickname “The Greatest Show on Turf” for their collective group or multiple Hall of Famer-caliber players in during the 1999-2001 seasons. If Rams can run on turf, why not Huskies? 

    July 22, 2014

  • FSU's Barfield, Jean-Charles named preseason All-Americans

    Chris Barfield and Jacob Jean-Charles earn preseason honors by being named to the USA College Football Division II Preseason All-American team.

    July 21, 2014

  • Baylor coach isn't buying schedule strength argument

    The College Football Playoff committee has vowed that strength of schedule will be a major criteria when selecting the four teams.

    July 21, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos