The Times West Virginian

Sports

November 12, 2013

Rebounding, defense to be focus for WVU against VT

MORGANTOWN — All in all, when West Virginia opened its men’s basketball season with a 77-62 victory over Mount St. Mary’s, it was a solid performance from a Mountaineer team that was very much a mystery.

But if there were two areas that Coach Bob Huggins believed needed improvement, they were the two areas that have come to signify what Bob Huggins’ teams are all about — defense and rebounding.

So it really wasn’t much of a surprise when he was asked where his team needed the most work going into today’s 1 p.m. game at Virginia Tech that will be shown as part of ESPN’s season-opening basketball marathon, those two areas were cited.

Indeed, rebounding and defense are to Bob Huggins like home runs were to Babe Ruth and spinach was to Popeye the Sailor.

“We have to defend a whole heck of a lot better than what we defended, and we have to rebound a lot better than what we rebounded the ball,” he said. “Those are two things that over the years we’ve done probably better than most, and we’re not doing it as well as virtually anybody right now.

“We’re fortunate we made some shots, but we all know there are going to be some games when those shots don’t go down, so we’re going to have to stop people. What’s really disappointing is we let Mount St. Mary’s get

so many second shots and second opportunities because we didn’t rebound the ball.”

The problem with this is that Huggins is fielding a young team, and when you are doing that at the college level, the young players normally were offensive stars in high school and weren’t asked to play defense and could rebound off their superior quickness and leaping ability rather than off hard work and skill, which decides who yanks down the college rebounds.

It is something that takes a while to develop ... far longer than it does to get players to do things correctly on offense.

Huggins, of course, is not a very patient man, so there will be a number of defensive moments as the season goes on, but Huggins is looking to do better rebounding than the team did in the opener when outrebounded by the Mount, 30-28.

“We recruited Devin expecting what he did against Fairmont,” Huggins said of 6-9 freshman center Devin Williams.

Williams pulled down 14 rebounds against Fairmont State in the exhibition game, but when the statistics started counting he picked off only one against Mount St. Mary’s, a disappointing performance.

And Nathan Adrian managed just three rebounds in 25 minutes of play, which isn’t enough to please Huggins.

“Nat has good hands. He ought to rebound better,” Huggins challenged. “We are going to have to team rebound. We don’t have one guy who will get us 12 or 13, but we have been in that situation a lot of times.

“We got beat to too many balls in the first game. Our balance and our base were not very good, and too many balls were bouncing off our hands.”

WVU is hoping to get Terry Henderson back playing. Expected to start and be one of the top scoring threats on the team, Henderson missed the first game with a shin injury and his availability for Virginia Tech is uncertain.

“He practiced 10 minutes today. That’s not enough to know,” Huggins said Monday.

Eron Harris, however, felt after Friday night’s opener that Henderson would be well enough to face the Hokies.

“I’m looking forward to a good environment, a competitive game. I think Terry is going to play with us (today). I’m looking forward to playing with my sophomore teammate because I want to see how good we can be,” Harris said. “That’s another shooting threat. With the way we have been shooting already, adding another threat will be big ... and he can drive, too.”

Again the offense will revolve around point guard Juwan Staten, who not only ran the show with six assists and no turnovers, but who scored 22 points in the opener.

Virginia Tech lost its opening game at home, 64-63, to South Carolina-Upstate, with Jarell Eddie leading the way with 18 points.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG Post 17 falls short in Area II championship

    Sometimes getting a bad game out of your system is what a team needs.
    Post 17 Fairmont is hoping that they’ve now gotten all of its bad games out of the way, falling to Post 2 Morgantown, 10-0, via a 7th inning mercy rule, crowning Morgantown Area II American Legion champions.
    After playing 18 innings the night before, Fairmont couldn’t seem to get anything going at East Fairmont High School Sunday afternoon.
    As rain clouds loomed over the field, so, too, did one settle in over Post 17’s offense, Fairmont collecting just four hits the entire game.
    “Definitely not one of our better games as a team,” Fairmont’s Austin Norman said of his team’s performance. “We’ll come up tomorrow, hit and get on the same page.”

    July 28, 2014 7 Photos

  • Harrison’s 4 hits leads Pirates past Rockies, 7-5

    Josh Harrison had four hits, including a tiebreaking homer, to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday.

    July 27, 2014

  • MLB inducts newest members into Hall of Fame

    Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy.

    July 27, 2014

  • Post 17 falls short of Area II championship

    Sometimes getting a bad game out of your system is what a team needs.

    July 27, 2014

  • Italy’s Nibali wins Tour de France

    Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour de France on Sunday, becoming the first Italian in 16 years to triumph in cycling’s greatest race by chiseling a lead over his main rivals a few seconds at a time and dominating them in the mountains.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: La Russa gives old pal Leyland a taste of Hall of Fame

    Jim Leyland didn’t expect it, at least not yet, but there he was in Cooperstown, New York for this week’s induction ceremony.

    July 27, 2014

  • JAMES UNDER RAINBOW -TS.jpg Post 17 plays itself into Area II championship game: PHOTOS

    The goal was simple for Post 17 Fairmont: Beat Bridgeport and advance to the state American Legion Tournament. But it left with more than a state tournament berth Saturday night at East Fairmont High School.
    After beating Bridgeport, 11-8, Fairmont secured a spot in next week’s state tournament. But with one challenge down, Fairmont moved on to the next: Playing itself into an area championship game.

    July 27, 2014 14 Photos

  • Knowing facts key to preventing sports injuries

    Youth sports injuries have been on the rise in recent years, leading parents, players and coaches asking one thing: How can we prevent these things from happening?
    A recent poll on the Times West Virginian website revealed that 41.8 percent of readers believe that there is no way to prevent injuries, while 26.47 percent said the best way to prevent injuries was to not play at all and 20.59 percent said that working hard was the best way to limit injuries.

    July 27, 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

  • Pirates fall victim to Rockies, 8-1

    Nolan Arenado bounced back from a benching with three hits, including a home run, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 on Saturday night.
    Tyler Matzek pitched three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings. Drew Stubbs and Corey Dickerson also homered for the Rockies, who have won three straight.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos