The Times West Virginian

Sports

December 12, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN- Harris hopes for more shots when he’s hot

MORGANTOWN — The game was over, a dark memory in Eron Harris’ mind as he sat in the West Virginia University locker room.

The post-game chatter, what there was of it after an 80-76 loss to No. 20 Gonzaga in a game the Mountaineers should have won, wasn’t registering with Harris.

“I had my eyes closed, and I was in another world,” he would say maybe a half hour later. “I’m so mad right now.”

And his mad at the moment better register with the rest of a frustrated West Virginia team, for it is going to play heavily on the direction this team takes for the rest of the season.

To begin with, you have to understand the mechanics of Tuesday’s game with Gonzaga.

It would have been a complete Gonzaga runaway were it not for Harris in the first half, who was making shots from everywhere but the Mountainlair as he scored 18 points.

Let us put that into perspective for a moment.

West Virginia opened against Gonzaga last year in Spokane and, at the half, registered exactly 18 points, the same number of points Harris alone had laid on the Zags in the half.

Now we go to the second half.

Harris scores five points, gets only five shots.

Now you understand why he is mad.

“I didn’t get the ball in the second half. That’s why I didn’t have the same second half,” he said.

Someone noted that Gonzaga had changed its defense, gone from a man-to-man to a 1-1-3 zone.

“They were trying to take you out of the game,” someone said to him.

“Everybody’s going to try to take me out of the game,” he said, quite pointedly.

Understand this about the conversation, it came in the shadow of defeat at a time when it appeared Harris could score 40 points and help avoid that defeat … or at least be given every opportunity to avoid it.

He didn’t want to sound like a “me-first” player, even went of his way to say the right thing at first.

“I just can’t get the ball, so … I guess I’ve got to work harder to get the ball,” he said.

 Someone asked if it was a matter of assertiveness.

“I’ll just try to be more assertive. That’s probably it,” he answered.

No one was buying that answer, least of all the man who gave it.

 The change in defense was offered as a reason why Harris had been taken out of the offense.

“They did zone. They did man. They did both, but I don’t think it’s what they do,” he said, now digging into the heart of what was really on his mind. “There’s things that get people open if somebody needs the ball. There’s screens, just pass it, I feel like … I probably just need to be more assertive from now on, I guess,” he said, but you could tell he wanted to say more.

And he did.

“You’ve got a player … Kobe, you screen for Kobe. I’m not saying I’m Kobe or anything, but I had a good half to be an option in the second half. I just felt like I wasn’t an option … and I’m not a selfish person,” he said.

“When you have 18 at the half, there’s a reason to get you the ball, right,” I responded.

“Exactly, you see what I’m saying.”

It didn’t matter if I saw what he was saying. It was obvious that this was something that would have to be worked out with teammates and coaches.

“It’s a conversation we’re eventually going to have. You’ve got to address it,” he said.

There are different viewpoints among coaches and teammates.

This is what the point guard, Juwan Staten, had to say about what happened from the first half to the second half.

“Somebody scores 18 in the first half, you are going to definitely come out (if you are the other team) and make sure he doesn’t get good looks, clean looks. Nothing changed in our game plan; we passed him the ball; we ran stuff for him,” he said.

“I mean, it’s hard. You score 18 in the first half, the team is going to come out and definitely make sure it knows where he is. From my perspective, one of my jobs is to get the ball to Eron, and every time I tried to get the ball to him in a spot I’m usually able to get the ball to him, they were reading it.

“They kept a close eye on him and switched a lot. Even if it was the guy guarding me, once I passed the ball to Eron he would switch to him. They did a great job of knowing where he was a limiting his touches.”

And coach Bob Huggins?

 “They played zone, but they chased him. They did a pretty good job of knowing where he was. Basically, what they said was, ‘He’s not going to beat us,’ so they didn’t guard some of our guys.”

And those guys – Gary Browne and Devin Williams – couldn’t make shots, magnifying the situation.

“Honestly, before it’s all said and done, the shots we missed, we’ll make. Browne had shot the ball well. They didn’t guard Devin at all. It’s a gamble; they try to take those guys,” Huggins said.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • James, Wade lead Heat past Bobcats in Game 1

    Each of the last two Miami championship runs has been highlighted by moments where a sharpshooter enters a game and immediately provides a surprise spark.

    April 20, 2014

  • Granderson lifts Mets over Braves in extras

    Slumping newcomer Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly in the 14th inning and the New York Mets outlasted the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on Sunday to prevent a three-game sweep.

    April 20, 2014

  • NMHS #28 PITCH -TS.jpg Pitching pushes North past Monarchs in game two of doubleheader: PHOTOS

    North Marion coach Vic Seccuro wanted to send a message to his team, telling them to focus, bear down and grit out a victory.
    After falling 13-8 to Braxton County in game one of a Saturday doubleheader, the Huskies bounced back to beat John Marshall, 4-2, Saturday at North Marion High School.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • EFHS #21-OG #11-TS.jpg Bees split with Oak Glen on Senior Day: PHOTOS

    Twice on Saturday the East Fairmont softball team found itself leading Oak Glen 3-1 in the seventh inning.
    The situation was the same in both games of the doubleheader. The way the Bees’ handled it, though, was quiet different.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • NMHS #14, 21-RC #14-TS.jpg Lady Huskies fall to Ritchie County late, 5-4: PHOTOS

    It couldn’t have happened the way it did even if No. 6 Ritchie County had drawn it up.
    The bases were loaded. There were no outs. And by a swing of bad luck a fly ball was dropped in the outfield as two runs came across to score, propelling the Rebels to a 5-4 win over No. 9 North Marion in the final game of the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School Saturday.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • 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

  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • Blue Jackets edge Pens, 4-3, in double OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

    April 20, 2014

  • Braun homers twice, rallies Brewers over Pirates, 8-7

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 20, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos