MORGANTOWN — It was a understatement, to be sure, that came out of Erik Stevenson’s mouth Friday night after West Virginia beat Penn, 92-58.
“It was just my night,” Stevenson said.
It certainly was. He shot the ball nine times. Eight went in. Four of them went in from 3-point range.
He only shot four 3s.
The final tally was 21 points in just 16 minutes and 5 seconds of playing time. Had he played a normal game, his career high of 29 would surely have fallen ... but then again, he shouldn’t have had only 29 that night.
“At the end, I missed a shot and was taken out,” he said, obviously upset he didn’t get a chance to ring up 30.
But this is different. West Virginia went into the game with five players averaging double figures and came out of it the same, four players scoring 10 or more — Tre Mitchell, Kedrian Johnson and Joe Toussaint scoring 11 each.
“The thing is, the other guys in the lineup, we have four, five or six guys who can do that.” Stevenson said.
If it was an understatement from Stevenson that it was his night, the opposite was true of what his coach, Bob Huggins said after winning his 920th game to move into third place tied with Jim Calhoun in all-time wins.
See, Huggins must have been watching a different offense than most of us.
“Offensively, we weren’t sharp, and we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Huggins said in an overstatement that was only topped by the announced attendance which was put at 9,875 and probably wasn’t half that many.
True, a coach looks at things differently than the general public and says things for effect to keep his team from getting a swollen opinion of itself, but c’mon. The Mountaineers scored 92 points and shot 64.3% for the first half and 55.6% for the game.
After watching his team shoot over the past few seasons, you’d think he’d be doing backflips over having a team shooting 50.9% through four wins without a defeat and if he did, he could raise a whole lot of money for the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Fund if he charged to have people see it.
Certainly, there are good things there.
“We pass it better,” Huggins said. “But how many did we throw out of bounds in transition, or how many did we throw to the other team when we are trying to make a hero play? Those things we have to wipe out. There’s probably been at least five or six times that we’ve had transition to one-on-one and sometimes three-on-one and instead of making the appropriate pass, we try to throw it up over the backboard so some guy can jump up and miss.
“We didn’t execute a lot of things that have really been good for us. I don’t really want to get into that now because I’m sure Purdue will go and read up on it. I think consistency might be the best word.
“We lack consistency at this point in time and we lack consistency at the defensive end. How many times were we standing there staring at the ball and they came behind us for layups. That’s inexcusable.”
The answer is not too many, because Penn scored only 58 points, barely enough to win one of those youth league games that are sometimes played at halftime.
Now, Huggins can put the experience of playing his first game against an Ivy League team behind him after playing 1,318 games without facing one.
Next week WVU heads West for the Phil Knight Legacy tournament, matched up with Purdue in the first game and with a chance to play Gonzaga in the second game.
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