The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

January 16, 2013

WVU vs. Iowa State clash in styles

First of two trip for Mountaineers this week

MORGANTOWN — When West Virginia University walks into Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, it is being billed as a basketball game between the Mountaineers and Cyclones, but it is far, far more than that.

Indeed, this a clash of basketball philosophies and approaches, a showdown of temperaments, if you prefer.

WVU’s Bob Huggins has always played the game with an edge on, turning it into a battle of mental and physical wills. He demands effort and defense and rebounding, but he goes against a counterpart in Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg with a totally different outlook upon the way the game should be played.

  Like Huggins, Hoiberg is coaching at his alma mater where he was a star player, averaging 20 points a game his senior season. Unlike Huggins, his game carried over into the NBA for a decade as a shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, the Chicago Bulls and the Minnesota Timberwolves, helping shape a far different philosophy than Huggins built as a college coach all those years.

The result is that even this year, as many teams across the nation struggle to score, Hoiberg’s teams go at a breakneck pace and shoot 3s as if they were going out of style.

The Cyclones lead the Big 12 in scoring by averaging 82.5 points a game, five more than second-place Kansas, and 14.5 more points a game than WVU has been able to scratch out. They have made more than twice as many 3s as WVU, 143-to-71, and love to get out and run.

Yet they hit the boards, leading the league in rebounding with 42.6 per game, led by league-leading rebounder Melvin Ejim, who averages 9.3 a game even though he stands just 6-6.

It all comes out of the philosophy Hoiberg has developed during his career.

“We want to get up and down the floor before the defense gets set,” he explained during Monday’s Big 12 basketball coaches’ conference call.

Hoiberg’s style is an outgrowth of some time spent with two pretty fair basketball minds during his NBA career.

“The big thing is to get guys to go out and play with confidence,” he said. “I played with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. It’s unbelievable how they could get us pumped up and go out and play with confidence you need.”

That’s a pair of Boston Celtics Hall of Famers, Bird who wound up in Indiana with the Pacers and McHale with the Minnesota Timberwolves, sharing their knowledge with players eager to learn from them.

That helped with all the 3s, but it is more than just the confidence. As much as they have been shooting the ball, they have been taking good shots, and as much as they have been running, they haven’t been throwing it away.

The good shots, he said, have come from working on spacing and making the extra pass, while the ability to play under control is a result of the play of point guard Korie Lucious, a transfer from Michigan State who has improved after sitting out last year as the season went on.

The result is that against Texas, as they bounced back from a demoralizing loss to Kansas in a game that was tied at the buzzer on a banked in 3 by the Jayhawks, they had only five turnovers despite playing at an uptempo pace.

“The reason we lost some of our earlier games was our inability to take care of the ball,” Hoiberg said. “I’m pleased with the way Korie has gone. He’s making simple plays. Earlier he was trying to get the ball into tight spaces and make home run passes.

“I think he was pressing then, excited to get out and play after a year off. He wasn’t horrible, just taking too many risky passes. We stuck with him and it has paid off now.”

West Virginia’s grit and determination will test them as the Mountaineers battle to land an important conference road victory that will keep their noses above.500 for the season, and Hoiberg knows it.

Huggins has said that his point guard, Juwan Staten, will be on the trip after not playing the last three halves, and if Huggins is taking him you would expect he’ll play him. Huggins also seemed determined to start Kevin Noreen and Dominique Rutledge while bringing Aaric Murray, his leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker, off the bench.

After traveling to Iowa, WVU comes home for a day and then must go back out on the road to play a non-conference game at Purdue.

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

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • 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

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    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

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    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

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos