The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

December 20, 2012

HERTZEL COLUMN: Style points had nothing to do with win

MORGANTOWN — Bob Huggins traded in what seemed a certain Brooks Brothers endorsement for a Gabriel Brothers endorsement, shedding his suit coat at halftime for his far less stylish but far more comfortable gray pullover.

Considering that wearing a suit coat in Brooklyn against Michigan didn’t do much for him and considering his West Virginia University team was down, 39-37, to Oakland at the half of this one, all he had to lose was style points by making the haberdashery move.

As anyone who knows me knows I do not believe that clothes make the man, but in this case clothes may make the coach for Huggins pushed a whole lot of right buttons in the second half of this game to walk away with the much-needed 76-71 victory.

That just backed up what he had said a day earlier in explaining how it usually is overrated by media, fans and even players who winds up in the starting lineup.

“It’s a big deal to you media guys, the fans and maybe a little to the players, but it isn’t who starts but who finishes,” Huggins said.

And, perhaps, what he’s wearing.

Huggins, for example, had started Deniz Kilicli, giving the big man another opportunity to break out of the funk he’s been in, but after a first half in which he played nine minutes, went 0-for-3 shooting, failed to grab a rebound and had a foul, he vanished along with Huggins’ sport coat.

While the coat was in the closet, Kilicli was on the bench and that left matters up to the likes of Keaton Miles, Dominique Rutledge and Aaric Murray to do the job up front.

And what a job they did.

In truth, this was one of those games that was destined to go down to the wire as the two teams looked each other in the eye and refused to blink.

Every time Travis Bader, the nation leader in 3-point shots, made a 3, right up until he finished his final one with 7 seconds left, WVU had an answer.

And it wasn’t exactly the answer you might expect.

Consider this.

Bader had 42 three-pointers entering the game while WVU, as a team, possessed 40 3s.

So whose 3s were the biggest?

Miles, who every so often finds the outside range. This time he hit two crucial 3s in a row — unlike Bader, he had only 3 all year coming in — giving WVU a 58-54 lead.

Each was popped from the corner and each got the biggest reaction of the crowd other than when Tavon Austin, the football star, was given the trophy for the national all-purpose player of the year during a timeout.

But then to call it a crowd might be stretching it, too, for with no students, a 4-5 team and Oakland as an opponent you wouldn’t exactly think it was Frazier vs. Ali in the Thrilla in Manilla.

Miles’ performance saw him wind up with 10 points, going 4-for-4 from the floor on a team that would shoot 52.9 percent.

How important is that? WVU is now 37-0 under Huggins when it shoots 50 percent or better.

Then there was the performance turned in by Murray, who stepped out of the doghouse and into the penthouse.

Left home from the trip to Brooklyn by Huggins because he’d not been exactly enthralled with conditioning drills, Murray turned in a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Again, it wasn’t how he started, because he hadn’t, but how he finished, making three of four free throws in the final 18 seconds to clinch the 76-71 victory.

And then there was Rutledge, who played only 13 minutes but they were an emphatic 13 minutes, his two field goals being power dunks that shouted out to Oakland that this was not going to be their night, not on the road in the Coliseum, where WVU is 63-3 against non-conference opponents in the last 10 years and has won 44 of the last 45 non-conference home games.

The victory was needed almost as much as Huggins needs a fashion consultant, evening the team’s record at 5-5.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com. Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • 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

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • 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

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