The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

February 14, 2011

HERTZEL COLUMN - For WVU, Dome just another court

MORGANTOWN — As basketball arenas go, the Carrier Dome is a pretty bad football stadium.

True, it is a piggy back for Syracuse’s basketball program, considering you can jam more than 30,000 in there on occasion, but it offers none of the amenities of the new arenas and none of the emotional attachment that comes with the standards.

It is a rag-tag rag top which holds the noise in and the cold of the Syracuse winter out.

Certainly, it has been home to more than its share of spectacular basketball players and teams, but that is far more due to the coaching of Jim Boeheim than to the architectural monstrosity that is the Carrier Dome.

Despite this, there is a certain amount of affection being shown for the place by the Mountaineers, who come in to face Syracuse in a made for TV Monday night basketball production that offers a lifeline to two Big East teams very much in need of such.

One might wonder why WVU would be looking forward to playing on a court where it has only one victory over the home team, and that so long ago that it resides in the deepest recesses of the memory. The date was Dec. 4, the year 1996, when a Gale Catlett coached WVU team, a Big East neophyte, won by the rather one-sided score of 101-79.

The Mountaineers produced three 20-point scorers in that game, all of them rather legendary names in the program. Forward Damian Owens had 24 and pulled down 7 rebounds, guard Adrian Pledger also scored 24 with five rebounds and four assists and then there was center Gordon Malone, a moody but talented big man who would wind up playing with the Harlem Globetrotters, who hit 10 of 12 shots from the floor to account for 25 points while hauling in 10 rebounds.

That is the only win over Syracuse, but WVU does possess three victories in the building and that is why they are eager to return, the Carrier Dome being the site last March where they whipped by Washington and Kentucky to advance to the Final Four.

Perhaps most excited about the return would be guard Joe Mazzulla, a fifth-year senior who, as hard as this is to believe, never has played against Syracuse there.

He did, however, walk out of there as the most valuable player in the Elite Eight, scoring 17 points with three assists and a pair steals while leading the world in floor burns in stunning Kentucky.

To many, the Carrier Dome is an intimidating place to play, being large and loud and with the Syracuse zone staring you in the face.

You can, however, put the intimidation factor on hold with the Mountaineers.

Bob Huggins teams do not intimidate easily.

“We only played here one time since I’ve been here and I don’t think it bothered them two years ago,” Huggins said. “We didn’t win, but we had a bunch of young guys. That was Truck and K.J. and Devin’s freshman year and it didn’t seem to bother them.”

And last year, when the Mountaineers came in to face Washington and Kentucky, they were more the intimidator than the intimdatee.

Take then freshman Deniz Kilicli, who was impressed but not intimidated.

“The first thing was, for me, I never see something like that,” the jolly, jumbo Turk said. “I never watched it on TV. That Dome was huge.”

So were the Mountaineers.

“We had a swagger last year. We had Da’Sean here. It was great. I can’t put it into words. It was so great to play with those guys, practice with those guys. I wish I could get them back to practice with them now.”

That, of course, won’t happen, not any more than Derrick Coleman or Carmelo Anthony will show up in a Syracuse uniform.

The deal is, neither the greats from the past nor the building will have anything to do with what transpires on the Carrier Dome floor Monday night. All that will matter, when it comes down to it, is whether or not West Virginia can put the ball in the basket, which is 10 feet high, just like in any other arena in America.

E-mail Bob Hertzel at

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