By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
The scoreboard said West Virginia University beat Glenville State, 95-53, in a basketball exhibition game at the Coliseum Tuesday night.
The coach wasn’t so sure.
The coach, of course, is Bob Huggins, and he has more than 700 victories in games that count and wants to add to that total, but wasn’t sure just how much he would be adding to it after what he watched transpire before 5,208 fans.
He was talking in part about the skills his team showed, but more about the effort that was on display … or what he termed lack of effort.
“I have some guys that if they cannot play harder than what they did today, then I really don’t need them to play,” he said. “We went through supposedly trying to grow up, and if they haven’t grown up by now, then are not going to grow up.”
Now it’s true, a year ago WVU lost to Northern Kentucky State in an exhibition game. Certainly, Huggins was asked, he felt this team was further along than that.
“I want us to be better than we were last year,” he said of the team that finished 19-14 and was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Gonzaga, the same team the Mountaineers open with in Washington in a week.
“I thought we had 10 or 11 guys we could run out there that would play hard and we’d wear people down,” he said.
After this performance, he isn’t so sure.
On the surface there were some good things. They did play everyone and newcomer Volodymyr Gerun, who will be eligible after six games, showed himself capable of handling this level with 12 points and three rebounds in 12 minutes of play.
Deniz Klicli played 17 minutes and had 19 points and played hard, but there were only three rebounds.
The rebounding, however, did come from where Huggins hoped it would in transfer Aaric Murray, who had nine rebounds and 12 points in 16 minutes.
And transfer point guard Juwan Staten showed the stuff Huggins is looking for 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting with six assists, no turnovers and three steals as he ran the show.
“I consider myself a leader, even though I did not play last year,” Staten said.
The team must consider him a leader because they voted him one of the captains.
While Staten knows he played well and that there were some good things that transpired, the transfer from Dayton also saw the bad that Huggins saw.
“We did not do a good job of running the floor,” he said.
In truth, it was a sloppy performance, one with missed open shots and 1-for-14 3-point shooting as well as 13 turnovers, the missed open shots coming because no one seemed to know if they would get a pass when they were open.
“Our shot preparation was awful,” Huggins said. “To be honest, it wasn’t always the shooter because he didn’t know if he would be passed the ball. Often the guy would just put his head down and try to go between three or four players.”
Glenville was led by Lamont Cole, who scored 10 points while three players — Lamar Mallory, Andy Coleman and Andre Jackson had 8 points.
NOTES: Former Mountaineers Joe Mazzulla and Rob Summers were assistant coaches for the Pioneers. … Former Mountaineer Truck Bryant was caught on the video board dancing to Tom Jones’ singing “It’s Not Unusual.” … Also in attendance were former Mountaineer players Kevin Jones and Alex Ruoff, recently drafted in the NBA Developmental League by Erie.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.