Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 4, 2012

Column: Marshall next for WVU basketball

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

MORGANTOWN — The West Virginia University men’s basketball team resumes action with two games this week.

The Mountaineers (2-3) meet intrastate rival Marshall (5-3) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the annual Capital Classic in Charleston’s Civic Center Coliseum.

Then, coach Bob Huggins will return with his squad and prepare for Saturday’s 4 p.m. game against Virginia Tech at the WVU Coliseum.

Huggins seemed pleased with the Mountaineers’ performance in last Wednesday night’s 94-69 win at home against Virginia Military Institute.

WVU had a rare seven scorers in double figures for the fifth time in history and first since the 1993-94 season. The team also showed significant improvement in various areas.

Juwan Staten, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound sophomore guard, was the leading scorer against VMI with 18 points. He played 29 minutes and made 7 of 9 shots.

Aaric Murray, a 6-10, 245-pound junior center had a team-high nine rebounds to go with 12 points.

Huggins said, “Staten played a lot better (against VMI). He pushed the ball, which he needed to do. That gave us some easy opportunities.

“He looked up the floor better. He passed the ball up the floor better. He was better at the defensive end. He made some rotations on some balls and made some shots.”

Huggins said WVU has counted on Staten to give the team some easy baskets. So he worked a little harder.

“Sometimes some people don’t,” the veteran coach noted. “Some people don’t always take 3-point shots.”

According to him, the Mountaineers practice 40 minutes and need to play hard but don’t. That has been a big problem.

“When we play sometimes we need 40 minutes out of some players and don’t get that,” he admitted. “But we need that.”

Some of the players thought that last week’s return from road trips was very timely and beneficial. It helped them get better motivated.

They noted that they were more relaxed. WVU shot 50 percent in the first half and 45 percent for the game.

Marshall and WVU will be meeting for the 41st time in basketball. The Mountaineers lead the all-time series by a 29-11 margin.

West Virginia won against Marshall by 78-62 last year.

Tom Herrion is in his third season as the Thundering Herd’s head coach. His record against WVU is 1-1.

Marshall has seven players back, including three starters, from last year’s team that had a 21-14 record.