The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

March 6, 2013

WVU faces Sooners a third time

MORGANTOWN — If West Virginia is going to have any chance to upset Oklahoma in tonight’s 9 o’clock game, freshman Eron Harris is going to have to play better against them than he has this year.

This is a rare third regular season meeting between two conference teams, WVU having lost to the Sooners, 77-70, for third place in the Old Spice Classic in November and then Oklahoma ruined the Mountaineers’ first Big 12 Conference game on Jan. 5, taking a 67-57 decision at the Coliseum.

WVU enters the game with a 13-16 record, 6-10 in Big 12 play. If they lose they will be the first Bob Huggins team to lose five straight games. He lost four in a row previously in his first year as a Division I coach at Akron in 1984-85.

To end the streak, his team will have to shoot better than it has been doing and that means that freshmen Terry Henderson and Harris, the two shooting threats, will have to have big games.

Henderson is coming off a 20-point performance in a 91-65 loss at Kansas, a game in which Harris had 11 points. The previous game, against Baylor, Harris scored a season-high 25 points.

Those two first-year players have been the only real scoring threats all season, but against Oklahoma, Harris has been dreadful, hitting just one of 10 shots in the two games.

Now it’s true that they were early season games, before he had built his confidence and before Huggins had confidence in him, but it’s obvious that WVU needs him to at least provide some kind of scoring threat to take pressure off Deniz Kilicli down low and give the Mountaineers a balanced offense.

“Teams didn’t guard him before,” Huggins said. “He was the guy you helped off of. Now they can’t help off of him. He has been a focal point of everybody’s game preparation.”

Harris has taken over as WVU’s top scorer this year, although you won’t hear him bragging about it even though should he hang on to that he would be the first freshman to lead WVU in scoring since Warren Baker in 1973.

Baker, however, averaged 16.6 points a game while Harris doesn’t even average double figures, averaging 9.5 points a game.

You have to go back to 1944 to find the last time WVU had no player average double figures, and to 1931 to find a year when someone led the team in scoring averaging less than 9.5 points a game, that being Edwin Bartug at 6.1 points a game.

No wonder they called those years the Great Depression.

Harris figures to see his average rise as he has become the man WVU is asking to shoot the ball. He has shot the ball 31 times in the past two games.

Interestingly, WVU has not found a way to get both Henderson and Harris hot at the same time, which has made it difficult for them to score 70 points in a game.

It’s been Feb. 2 since WVU has reached 70 points, and during that span the Mountaineers have won only three of eight games.

One of the major problems has been that the freshmen scorers have had little help from the sophomores.

“I’m not trying to say this as a negative, but our sophomores have shot 10-12 percentage points lower than a year ago and we didn’t get the impact from the transfers,” Huggins said.

The result is that WVU is shooting just 40.1 percent for the year, which is not good enough to win the Big 12.

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

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Were Bowlsby’s fears about college athletics’ future justified?

    I have never met or even talked to Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    But I did read a lengthy story on his 45-minute address to reporters last week on Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Among other things, Bowlsby forecast a startling change threatening the existence of intercollegiate athletics as we have known for these many, many years.

    July 28, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • Seider's brother commits to WVU

    West Virginia University’s football team has received a commitment from one of its own.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides much optimism heading into 2014 season

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • Forsey posts Top 10 finish at World Championships

    Freshman Jillian Forsey of the West Virginia University cross country team finished ninth at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
    Forsey, a native of Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, was representing Team Canada. She was the first Canadian to cross the finish line in the women’s 5,000-meter run, finishing in ninth place overall in 16:02.55.

    July 26, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Wyant talks about ‘Pappy’ Lewis and other items of interest

    I saved some other interesting observations from the recent interview with Fred Wyant which you may find worth reading.
    He believes a college football coach ought to recruit a quarterback he wants, give him some help, then turn virtually everything over to him and let him go.

    July 26, 2014

  • Forsey posts Top 10 finish at World Championships

    Freshman Jillian Forsey of the West Virginia University cross country team finished ninth at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

    July 25, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Wyant talks about ‘Pappy’ Lewis and other items of interest

    I saved some other interesting observations from the recent interview with Fred Wyant which you may find worth reading.

    July 25, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.

    July 25, 2014

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