Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 20, 2013

Column: Comparing WVU men of present, past

By MICKEY FURFARI
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

MORGANTOWN — Shades of the legendary Jerry West, Llod Shearer, Bobby Joe Smith, Joedy Gardner, Don Vincent, Ronnie Retton, Bucky Bolyard, et al.

That’s what it had resembled to some old timers last Sunday in the WVU Coliseum as the West Virginia University men’s basketball team defeated longtime regional rival Duquesne 96-83 in an old-fashioned shootout.

A turnout of only 6,038 was treated to a most entertaining display of fast-paced, high-scoring basketball which thrilled WVU fans at the field house (now Stansbury Hall) in the Golden Era of the 1950s-60s.

In the process on Sunday afternoon, Coach Bob Huggins’ young team shot a sizzling 58.9 percent from the field in making 33 of 56 field goal attempts. What’s more, the Mountaineers (2-1) hit 10 of 18 shots from 3-point goaling range (55.6 percent).

Defensively, they limited the Dukes (1-2) to 45.5 percent accuracy from the field (30 of 66) and just 33.3 percent from 3-point (7 of 21). In foul shooting, WVU made 20 of 34 free throws and Duquesne 16 of 24.

However, West Virginia was outrebounded by a 39-30 margin. Obviously, the team could use improvement in board work.

WVU’s 96 points were the most in a game since it defeated Alcorn State by 97-62 on Nov. 17, 2011 in Morgantown.

Ninety-six also was the fourth-highest number of points the Mountaineers have scored under Huggins’ guidance.

As for the goaling percentage against the Dukes, it was the highest since Nov. 11, 2011, when WVU shot 58.8 percent from the field against Oral Roberts in a 78-71 season’s opening win.

Just three scorers recorded double digits for West Virginia Sunday. Eron Harris led the way with 33 points, Juwan Staten followed with 28 points, and Devin Williams had 18.

All three are starters. Harris is 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, Staten a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior guard, and Williams, a 6-foot-9, 255-pound freshman forward.

Micah Mason led the Dukes with 18 points. Three others had 10 or more points each.

Williams was the top Mountaineer rebounder with 10. Huggins obviously must develop some help in that vital area.

In addition to his scoring support, Staten was the Mountaineers’ leading playmaker with nine of the team’s 15 assists. That obviously was a major-factor in high-scoring success.

The men’s team returns to action at 7 pm Thursday at home against Georgia Southern (2-1). Root Sports will televise the action.

WVU won both of the previous two meetings between the schools. The scores were 85-58 in 1982 at the West Virginia Classic in Charleston and 85-52 in Morgantown in 1974.